Generation Gap, the gulf that widens with time and threatens to unravel the very fabric on which a family is based, a rift which is as real as mythical, a clash which alienates us from the people who matter most.
It is strange how as we keep growing up the very thoughts, values and notions which guide us, mentor us and inspire us tend to become anachronistic, irrelevant and out of sync with the changing times. The complete breakdown of attitudes, opinions and perceptions which lead to the fallout in relations between two generations is Generation Gap.
It is not even as if it is a 21st century phenomenon in which the last generation is unable to match with the rapidly changing technological and social scenario. It is an age old thing, prevalent since time immemorial and every generation will narrate anecdotes of how they had differences with the thought process of the generation before them, leading to alienation of one and apathy of another.
Familypatriarchs or matriarchs have their pre-conceived notions of how a family operates with each one having designated roles and a respect for authority as the dominant value but the next generations have their own dreams, aspirations and desires which might lead to angry confrontation or cold silences between two sets of generations and cause an irreversible rift.
A frustrating lack of communication between the two sets of generations in the prevalent cause, more often than not, with neither willing to invest the flexibility, time and subtle handling required to bridge this gap.
This gap is deeply penetrating, divisive and has rippling down effect on the social fabric of a society. It is an invasive chasm that has serious manifestations on the politics, culture, and the mental health of the people involved. The age-old segregation, needs to be put to an end for a happier, healthier, society but it is easier said than done.
Of course the era in which one is born and which one grows into has its impact on the social conditioning of that generation. A generation which grew up in pre-liberalization days where inflow of money was tight, social fabric more closer knit and social role more well-defined, will have obvious difficulty coming to terms with the next generation which is growing up into ubiquitous technology and free market economy and more purchasing power. Their expectations from life differ in the scale, magnitude and quality involved but the essence lies in striving to reach the commonality that goes beyond the inter-generational differences.
Desire for stronger families, better health, and love for one’s nation and yearning for more knowledge and information are factors that can bring both, on a common platform. If the older generation is able to ride above its overwhelming apprehension of new technology through better learning and awareness, the problem of generation gap can be addressed with better ease.
The trick is to strike a balance where if one group succeeds the other does not necessarily feel doomed to fail but feel proud to be partner in that journey. Better social care for older people and quality time spent with each other can override this gap and hopefully, keep the love thriving. Flexibility, empathy and concern hold the key to unlock this inter-generational stalemate.