I will never forget the first time I was on the receiving end of a "Whatever" from my teenage daughter.
I had just given a well reasoned, entirely logical response as to why she couldn't have a party at the house while we were away for the night.
She looked at me, eyes narrowed with the contempt not even thinly veiled, and delivered a withering "Whatever".
It summed up her complete dismissal of everything I said, everything I was, everything I represented. And, in its own way, its quite brilliant. You can't argue with a "whatever".
It's conversation over. And that's a bit like the "Okay, Boomer" that sparked such a media firestorm when Green MP Chloe Swarbrick said it in response to an interjection during her speech in Parliament.
It's a response Millennials use to Baby Boomers – born between 1946 and 1964. "Okay Boomer" is used when, according to Urban Dictionary, "some old guy says dumb s*** and you can't even begin to explain why he's wrong because that would mean deconstructing decades of misinformation and ignorance, so you just brush it off and say okay". It's the whatever of this generation.
I don't understand why Boomers are so het up about it. They've been branding Millennials avocado-eating snowflakes for years; meaning that young people are whining, over-sensitive liberals who don't know the meaning of hard work and who would rather eat Instagrammable avocado on toast at a hipster cafe than save up and buy a house. Having worked in talkback for years, I know the futility of arguing with someone who has views so firmly entrenched, so deeply felt that a counter opinion or even a statement of fact will just be a waste of breath.
"Thanks for your call" said in a certain tone is the talkback host's "whatever" or "okay Boomer". And having worked in talkback for years, I can understand why the young 'uns get so exasperated with us Boomers.
A lot of us don't like change. We find it frightening – threatening, even. We don't like being blamed for everything the Millennials think is wrong with the planet. We remind the kids that they wage their battles on social media, but we were out there marching in the streets, effecting change around apartheid and nuclear ships and Māori land rights.
We made the world a better place, goddammit, and these spoiled young people have the temerity to dismiss us and all we've achieved.
But we made the world a better place for us. We shaped our society the way we wanted it to look. And now it's time for the kids to shape their world the way they want. They're in charge now.
So they don't want to work 60-hour weeks for 30 years in the hope that they can cash in when they retire. Why wouldn't you find a more interesting, more balanced way to live life? So they worry about the planet and the way humans have trashed it. Good on them for eschewing consumerism.
It's up to them to define the values they want to live by and deliver on that. And anyone who's spent any amount of time around young people will know that they will go a jolly good job of it.
It's time Boomers handed over the metaphorical keys to the allegorical car. The kids are in the driver's seat now.
Although they probably won't want the car unless it's electric … or they'll trade it in for a bike. And that's entirely their choice.
• Kerre McIvor Mornings, Newstalk ZB, weekdays 9am-noon