The Generation Gap is one of the few things most of us experience from both sides. As we age, we float from the rebellion side to the judgement side.
Why is there a generation gap?
I think it’s part of human behavior. As teens and young adults, our role is to challenge the status quo and question things our parents take for granted.
As adults, we are tasked with making sure the world is a safe place for the next generation. We know how dangerous it can be because we survived our own youth.
First sign you’ve crossed over
This isn’t about age, some people never cross over the gap. You’ve crossed the generation gap the first time you hear the words coming out of your mouth as the same words you heard going in your ears as a youth. We have suddenly moved from challenging the world and trying to make it a better place, to trying to make it a safer place. Status quo feels safer than change.
The status quo isn’t always where the line is drawn. From the other side of the generation gap, some people want to return to the world of their parents – the one they rebelled against as teenagers and young adults.
Making a bridge over the gap
I remember when I was trying to change the world. It was about optimism and hope. I thought we could solve the problems that made life dangerous and hard for some people. I took the idea that every parent wanted a better world for their kids at face value.
My parents wanted to keep me safe, as do all parents. They saw safety in terms of what they knew. They saw danger in terms of the unknown.
To build a bridge across the gap, I think we need to trust each other. The older generation can end the echoes of ‘the younger generation is lazy, isn’t committed, isn’t…’ whatever they think is valuable. The younger generation needs to remember that we did survive our youth and we have some appreciation of the dangers, and how easy it is to not survive.
What do you think? Can the generation gap be closed?