In our current society, there is frequent discussions about whether young people are out of touch with the older generation, or if it is the other way around.
You will always get different view points or perspectives, but I think that it goes both ways. These two generations have gotten extremely out of touch with each other and there is a generation gap, which I think will be difficult to rectify. However, it is not impossible.
While attending a community event, it was interesting to hear a teenage girl say that she thinks the youth have a problem with being able to communicate with the adults, and that the youth need to get more on the adult level. These are comments that you usually hear from older individuals rather than younger ones, but everyone has their own opinion and I respect that.
Nevertheless, I did not entirely agree with the comments she made. Although there is some truth to what was said – some young people do need to get on a more adult level and learn how to effectively communicate with them – there are some adults who need to get more on the youth level. I’m not saying that adults should start using all types of slang words and begin slacking with their grammar, but they need to understand how to speak to young people effectively without making them feel as if they are being patronised.
Sometimes it seems that the older generation fail to understand that we are living in a very different time to them, especially with the emergence of technology and everything that comes with it. Young people also find themselves needing more support in an age when there is so much added pressure from various avenues.
However, I think that the younger generation tends to forget that their elders have a lot more life experience than they do, which means that they have an abundance of wisdom to share. We may be living in a different time, but they can definitely share their insight on similar things that may have happened to them in the past, and more than that, they can lend a listening ear in a bid to gain understanding.
Lending a listening ear does bring up another issue though, because just as so many young people are unwilling to hear, there are a whole host of older individuals who are also unwilling to listen to them. Too many times, the older generation only hear what they want to hear or they refuse to hear, because of their personal prejudices or feelings of shame. There are also the older individuals who feel that they do not need to listen, because in their eyes, why does the word of a young person matter?
This is an issue that goes hand-in-hand with the issues that young people have with the government. Many of them feel that their voices are not heard or do not matter to those in power, so they simply stop using those voices. Why do you think it is so hard to convince young people to vote?
The government is extremely out of touch with the young generation and they spend a lot of time putting them on the back burner, which leads to problems. I don’t think they have properly considered the subject of benefits and unemployment, because I doubt that cutting benefits will automatically push young people into employment. This is delusional thinking, which will probably lead to further issues in the young community.
Yet as I said earlier, it is not impossible to rectify this problem. Yes, there is a generation gap, but there is a way to bridge that gap. The most important factor in all of this is our community – we all need to be interacting with members of our community more and engaging in the various community events or activities that are available. This will allow the young and older generation to spend time together in various spaces, leading to conversations and possibly future relationships.
However, it is not enough for us to just talk to each other, but we also need to really listen to one another, as listening allows us to gain perspective and understanding on the person in front of us. Genuine, in-depth conversations between the older and younger generation would probably work wonders in our community and society.
I know that there is every possibility to bridge this gap, because I regularly see it in action, especially when spending time with the charity Lives Not Knives. I have met some amazing individuals from the older generation who are definitely in touch with the young generation.
Watching Monique Rebeiro and Ian Willard interact with young people is a beautiful thing – they make so much time for them and speak to them on the same level that they would speak to anyone else. On the other hand, the younger individuals working there are also in touch with the older generation – I think that Eliza Rebeiro can interact well with a person of any age.
I think that it is a shame that there is a lack of understanding between the two generations, because we can learn a lot from each other. There are many interesting conversations to be had, useful connections to be formed and great relationships to build. We just need to listen to each other and take the steps towards bridging the generation gap.