I believe strongly in the need to bridge generation gaps. I think a lot of misunderstandings in parent-child and even grandparent-grandchild relationships stems from one party not understanding where the other one is coming from.
As a parent, I try often, to share things from my past, upbringing, and experiences. I try to expose my children to their grandparents and great-grandparents when possible (as they live out of state.) I believe a lot of wisdom can be learned from what others before us have gone through!
But I don’t think the job is just up to us. I think our children need to make efforts to bridge the generation gap as well. They need to listen to our type of music instead of simply their own. They need to watch movies, read books, and listen to us when we share stories or lessons from our lives and past.
It’s not just up to us to do all the “bridgework!”
Sometimes we can cater too much to our children. We allow them to roll their eyes at us or laugh at the clothes we wore. Without understanding. Without realizing that one day it will be them in the “parental shoes.”
I believe respect is vital. Exposure to older generations and experiences; critical. Whether or not our children think it’s “fun.”
It takes two to make a bridge and I think a common misconception has been that bridging generations is solely the responsibility of parents. But it’s not. Our children need to meet us at least half-way. They need to make an effort too – not just us.
Think about that the next time you feel like you are worlds apart from your child. As you learn how to text, work technology, and keep up-to-date on your child’s world…teach them a little bit about the one you grew up in. Help them understand you a little bit better by encouraging them to step into life as you’ve lived it. Expand their horizons and help them become a better person – with understanding, and with knowing.