“A father must lead his children, but first he must learn to follow. He must laugh with them but remember the ache of childhood tears. He must hold the past with one hand and reach to the future with the other so there can be no generation gap in family love.”June Masters Bacher
The generation gap is a word that has a different meaning from different generations. Generation Gap can be defined as the difference of opinions and ideas between one generation and another. Too much theoretical isn’t it?
But….but…but…, Indian culture has more 2 definitions according to a different perspective
- For older adults; Generation gap means the inability of the younger generation; to behave as maturely, as productive as they were when they were of that age.
- For younger ones; the generation gap means the so-called outdated ideologies of the older adults.
These are the tiny ways generations distinguish between one another.
This absurd concept of division among humankind based on their age first emerged in the 1960s; when teenagers seemed to do everything their parents would disapprove of. The children in this technological era are exposed to a lot more information and can form opinions of their own. This can often result in conflicts regarding various beliefs and ways of dealing with different situations. There exists a conflict because of the contradictory viewpoints.
Everyone likes to get heard. If this is taken from that person then various psychological issues arise like lack of confidence, inferiority complex, etc, especially in the younger generation.
WHY SOLVE GENERATION GAP?
You must be wondering that is this problem of the generation gap that important to solve? What issues arises if we don’t focus on solving the global problem of the generation gap?
Some of the effects of not solving the generation gap are as follows:
- Because of the frequent silly arguments and clashes over pity issues, the harmony in the premises of the house gets disturbed.
- In some cases, the children in the family find out ways to live far from their family, They look for colleges which are far from home just to stay away and to avoid these frequent clashes.
- In some extreme cases, the daughter in law provokes her husband to leave his parents in old age homes, or they themselves settle someplace far away.
- This causes isolation which further leads to loneliness, depression, and other mental illness.
Don’t worry, we know how to solve this, just read right till the end…
WHAT WIDENS THE GENERATIONAL GAP?
There are various ways the current generational gap keeps widening and our elders keeping drifting apart. Very often the younger generation and the older generations enter into conflicts as rivals and not as mature adults. Each criticizes the ways of the other instead of trying to mutually benefit from each other. They fail to understand that their experiences complement one another, which means what one might know, would probably be news to the other. We can benefit from one another when these differences will resolve.
In India, cultural differences also add some fuel to widen the generation gap. In many cultures, the daughters-in-law are not allowed to have a decent conversation with the elders of the family. Looking at these types of cultural aspects how can we expect to narrow down the generation gap?
HOW TO BRIDGE THE GENERATION GAP?
1. Acknowledge your differences
The first step towards solving any problem is to acknowledge that there is a problem. Admit that there exists a massive gap between the two generations. Sensitise yourself about the struggle and pain of the other generation and resolve to work on your differences. Both, the elders and the youngsters must be ready to accept the differences that exist between them and make a positive change.
2. Adopt an open mindset
As functioning adults, most of us have a rather fixed mindset, where we are unwilling to accept the ideologies of the other and grow in maturity. We tend to stick to our ideologies and beliefs and refuse to adapt according to other people’s mindset. Everyone needs validation. Due to the generation gap, Elders criticize their youngsters for their lack of focus, and the millennial generation often mocks the elders for their lack of knowledge. Instead of insulting each other, both the parties should take the help of each other and improve their weak points.
3. Do not resort to mocking what you don’t understand.
Instead of focusing on the downside and the dissimilarities between the generations, one should focus on the similarities. Despite the age gap, the core values are often in alignment. Focusing on these instead of what is different and the gap will automatically narrow down.
4. Different roles, same goals
In any organisation, the different age groups often have different roles. Seniors come with their brand of wisdom and experience. In society, this wisdom can be used to benefit the disadvantaged groups. Similarly, the younger generations come with their levels of technological knowledge and skill, from which a large number of people who have had zero access to any resources can benefit. At the end of the day, both groups have a different skill to contribute, to the same goal of uplifting and improving the society.
5. Mutual Respect
The elderly often have zero respect for the lifestyle, language and work ethic of the youngsters. The youngsters have no respect or patience for the seniors’ disadvantage in the technological field. This results in a never-ending discord. One must inculcate Respect for the other. For example, the senior’s must respect the immense skill set of the younger generations and the youngsters must appreciate the life experiences and the wisdom the elderly have to impart. Focussing on what is a good quality about each other and developing a sense of mutual respect plays a major role in reducing the gap between the younger generations and the elderly.
6. Engage in activities together
Engaging in activities not only encourages the people of different generations to engage with each other but also help them to understand more about each other’s ideologies. The problem of the generation gap is all about not understanding the ideologies, which can be resolved by such activities.
7. Learn and Earn
Understanding the core fundamental perspectives can be a way for the two segments of our society to earn each other’s affection. Therefore, they first learn about each other to earn mutual trust. Learning and improving your knowledge about one another increases your ability to tolerate and communicate with one another. Learning of new technology helps the senior generation more to get along with the younger generation which is key for bridging this gap.
8. Effective Communication
Effective Communication refers to the ability of the one person to relay information in a manner that it gets across to the other person. It is more than just exchanging information, it is the process of exchanging ideas, knowledge, and information in a manner best understood by the receiver. Things go sour between the elderly and youngsters because they fail to communicate effectively and efficiently, and often misunderstand what the other is saying.
Knowing that the younger generations are more exposed to technology than the older adults, they will always lack (in the eyes of society) in the amount of exposure and the experiences the younger generation has. But that said, the age where the older generation felt that they have gained a fair share of experience, that age is also reduced. Let’s say if that age is 24 then, unfortunately, that age has become 16 now.
This generation gap never exists because of what the young ones have started thinking or doing. It is due to the kind of the surrounding they have grown up in or the kind of experiences they have got.
They have grown up in the age of technology where they are exposed to a lot many things that the older generations had to work hard to get that. The duties of the older generation are to guide them on how to use the resources they are born with not to restrict them with.
WITH GREAT POWER AND EXPERIENCES COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITIES
What is your opinion can help reduce the generation gap?
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