Let’s get this straight – simply and directly.
Two contradictory statements which will make absolute sense to us if we are able to look at it objectively.
Nothing can ever replace the wisdom and the experience of our seniors.
If we do not change and adapt ourselves with the times, we will be left behind!
Where does this leave our grandparents and/or our parents?
Should we listen to their sage/pragmatic advice?
Should we follow our intuition and our gut feeling?
Are they so rigid and inflexible (with all their years of experience) that they are unable to understand our problems?
Are we so caught up in our own worlds ( read – virtual worlds) and have such closed minds that we are unable to even simply listen – yes – just listen to what our parents and grandparents are trying to tell us?
Be honest. Take all the time in the world to read those questions again if you want to. But have the courage to be honest at least to yourself.
I share an excellent rapport with all my students. They will openly share their feelings and thoughts with me either in the class room or outside it. They will want to know my opinions. No, I don’t think I am a world class teacher/lecturer too. I just am genuinely interested in children of all ages. I wonder what makes them tick. I appreciate their challenges. I understand their views and am able to relate to their genuine problems.
I am not as highly involved in their lives as their own parents or grandparents are. Yet I love to interact with them.
Yet, as a parent myself – I constantly struggle to create a bridge of open communication with my own adult son.
Parents understand that youngsters like to figure out things for themselves. Parents understand that youngsters like their own space.
What parents don’t understand and have great difficulty in accepting is:
Why do youngsters feel the need to cut themselves off from their family at a mental and emotional level once they grow up?
Parents credit their children with some common sense.
Oh! My dear dear youngsters reading this article – please return that courtesy to your seniors too.
We are not dumb or so outdated that we don’t understand a word of what you are saying.
Give us the details and be a little – just a wee bit – patient with us – and we will be able to relate to your challenges too.
We may not be so highly techno savvy as you guys are – but we know enough to get by.
If you are able to look at it a little neutrally, or objectively – we – the senior generation have been able to strike the right balance between the virtual and real worlds.
We know what is necessary. We know things that will make our lives easier. We know how to put our knowledge and experience and expertise to good use.
AND WE KNOW HOW TO DRAW THE LINE AFTER OUR WORK IS DONE.
You will rarely find seniors who are hooked to their smart phones or laptops 24×7.
Somebody has to cook and somebody has to earn that bread and butter and jam and pizza for the entire family. J We do it willingly. A little appreciation from the young folks would help. A willingly extended helping hand would help a great deal more. J
Youngsters – and I truly love them all – my son included – will literally carve time out of their busy schedules to hit the gym at least 5 days a week.
A great job. You all do look great and we appreciate the fact that you take fitness so seriously. At least we know that you will not end up getting all those lifestyle related health problems at a later stage in life.
But here is a teeny weenie thought that niggles us all. How about helping around at home dear youngsters? Clear up the kitchen on a Sunday? Take the car or the bikes for servicing? Take your grand dad out for a much needed outing? Run an errand for your mom?
Would that be too much to ask?
And here is teeny weenie thought number two for you!
Youngsters – and again – believe me when I say this – I love every single one of you – will not mind taking their friends to the doctor. They will take turns and keep a vigil on their friend’s progress at the hospital. They will unhesitatingly stay up the entire night and will be greatly concerned about them.
Ever thought of doing the same for your Ma or grand ma? Be honest!!
Don’t allow those gadgets to create a rift between the real and the virtual worlds dear youngsters.
Have your face book friends. Chat online for hours together. We don’t want to deprive you of these small blissful moments which give you so much happiness.
But if you are deriving a sense of identity and a sense of confidence from your face book page status or from the number of friends that you have – then you surely need to reorient your thinking again.
Yes, I do know several youngsters who are cooped up in their rooms for hours together. I also know that parents who could talk to their own children at any time and every time – have started thinking twice before discussing things with their kids.
They don’t know if their kids will be able to accept the reality anymore. They are scared that if they force them to confront the truth, their children will stop speaking with them and cut them out of their lives mentally and emotionally.
They have witnessed such extreme situations.
And they are as confused as their children. Both parties don’t know where they are going wrong.
All of this is happening because – there is no communication – no open/honest/ transparent communication between these two generations.
There was a time – not so very long ago – when the entire family would literally sit down together for dinner. They would chat endlessly – with their mouths – not with fingers – while they sat on the swing. They would have meaningful discussions and understand each other’s perspectives.
Communication was the key component of such lively talks. Guests were welcomed. The entire family shared the household chores and took care of one another.
Now there is a TV in each room. People are graduating to watching their own personal movies on their own laptops and smart phones at their own convenience.
The physical boundaries are creating mental boundaries. And the mental boundaries are breaking down the channels of communication. And this in turn leads to emotional and mental confusion amongst all the people.
Change with the times if you must folks.
Old folks and young folks.
We need to constantly change.
But some things like values and virtues can never ever change.
A relationship – real or virtual – can thrive only if there is open communication.
A relationship needs to be worked upon.
A relationship needs to be invested in.
Seniors need to tune in to technology.
Juniors need to tune out of 24×7 Google.
Forge that bond folks.
Build that bridge of togetherness.
Go out together.
Eat out together.
Your kids are not all that weird.
Neither are your parents all that outdated.
We are all normal human beings who are adapting to the big changes that technology is bringing about in our lives.
Perhaps we will falter a little and stumble a little. But we will bounce back.
Because we are all blessed with something called common senseJ.
Yes. Sometimes it does desert us – and this applies to both seniors and juniors. But at the end of the day – we will all be wiser after facing so many challenges at a personal and familial level. We will be forced to question our outdated beliefs and thoughts. We will be forced to accept and adapt to new things. And juniors will perhaps learn things the hard way after they face a failure or two along the way.
But we will all win and emerge victors. And we will all progress as a family.
Why? You know…..but we will put it down in writing for you anyway…..because nothing can ever beat good old fashioned LOVE.
Love truly and really keeps a family together.