A small step in managing the generation gap


Most of us are blessed to have people of the older generation in our lives – whether they be parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or other senior citizens. However, no doubt there is a big gap between their thinking, values, views, principles and ours. Many of our views are diametrically opposite to the ones of this generation. No matter who we are – religion, ethnicity, nationality, age etc., there is this gap. I am not saying that our views are correct, or their views are correct but just stating a fact that for a certain point my view has changed for sure. I guess if you show some understanding and patience, it is possible.


Over the past two months, I am truly blessed to be living with my mom. Of course, as much as of an adjustment it is for me, it is the same for her. But it is great to be with her and I try to take care of her in her golden years despite my health challenges. And she helps me big time with my health challenges. Overall, we get along just fine despite having some different generational views and opinions on life. We do have occasional disagreements – but we try to respectful of each other’s views and opinions even though listening to those are challenging to both of us. This little static pales in comparison to the general agreements, love and bonding besides the fact that we give each other great company and support.


There certainly are many points we differ on – but that has nothing to do with us as individuals but everything to do with the generational gap. But I must admit that on one point I have changed my view – her general thoughts and actions regarding reusing things. She is always looking for ways to avoid waste by reusing things and find different innovative ways to do exactly that. Over the years, I used to think her insistence on reusing things is just a way to save money. I thought why she was so cheap especially when we were lucky not to have any money problems. I used to constantly deride her on why she was so cheap. She wasn’t being cheap but just being frugal. This insistence on avoiding waste and being frugal is deeply entrenched in her values. She does not throw anything just because it is slightly broken etc. whereas our generation has the tendency to throw things at the slightest problem. I am sure many will relate to this with their parents or grandparents.


There are so many examples of this but one recent one comes to mind is when they delivered an electronics item I had ordered, it was packed in a nice plastic bag. I was intent on throwing it, but my mom thought it was a perfect bag to use as a trash bag for our trash container. And it certainly was. I would have never thought of it that way. But her generation thinks of these things as avoiding waste and reusing things are of highest importance to them. Although before, I did not see this action as being environmentally conscious, it is. I used to think the primary motivation was to just save money. Although it may be true, the by-product of this action is being environmentally conscious. Being environmentally conscious is much more fashionable and accepted now. And most of the world is realizing it is just not a fad but is the absolute need of the hour whether you live in a developed or developing country. But this generation has been doing it for a long time – and whether the motivation was to save money or whatever it is definitely a way to be environmentally conscious. I shared this changed view of mine with my mom and of course she was happy about the fact. She was now emboldened by my admission of this fact. And then started to share with me what other things which the younger generation does not get right. All I could say was “Now Now.”


I heard somewhere ‘Just because you don’t understand something it does not mean it is wrong.’ How true is that? I think the older and younger generations must keep this in mind to reduce misunderstandings and the resulting anxieties and stress. And they have to also remember “You cannot clap with one hand”

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