To bridge a generation gap
Time is a cruel mistress. The ground that you walk on now once saw a young, energetic lot that ran the show. With their vigor, they ran their homes, their careers and the world. The same people who are now seniors around you—frailer than they were before—were once the youth that were the future.
What do you think of when you hear the terms educated, dashing, young, intelligent, career-oriented, professional? Probably of people like you. Someone in their 20s, 30s, and even 40s. These were the same words used for people now in their 60s and beyond when they were in their heydays.
Now, fast forward a few decades when you too are in your twilight years. Body unable to keep up with the fast pace of the world, and mind unable to fully comprehend the advancements of technology. You try your best but it’s not nearly enough. Instantly, you think of a compassionate hand and a patient soul to help you around.
Be that to your seniors today.
A generation gap begins mostly because of lack of patience. The younger population is used to a faster pace of life than the previous generation was. And this happens with every new generation. There’s social media to keep up with, flying across the globe for vacations, fast cars, faster lives… While the older generation tries their best to understand what these new trends are all about.
This lack of understanding and mismatch of pace is the root cause of why this gap widens. A friend of mine, who is very tech savvy and even has her own Instagram page, once told me how difficult it was to start getting a grasp on this pace. “You know Mala, there were no mobile phones when we were growing up. We had a landline phone, sometimes there was only one phone in an entire row of bungalows in a lane!” she said. “No pictures to click for Instagram for likes, no videos to make for followers, no friends you made instantly across the world.”
While she now uses social media like a pro, she benefited from the kind patience of those who helped her understand platforms first. “Why do you not see a lot of opinions and perspectives from senior citizens these days? Because they’re unable to give it to the world in the way the world wants it—online!”
This was a fair point, I thought. Many believe that this generation gap comes in only when people become senior citizens. But I went back to the days where my friends and I were new parents. The kids learnt to walk and talk and then went to school. The more they grew up, the more we started to see a lack of patience on both sides of the fence.
We, as parents, just wanted the kids to fall in line and understand our perspective. They, with youthful energy on their side, wanted to do whatever they wanted to do. But they too wanted us to understand their perspective.
So, who’s to blame for this generation gap? If you ask me, no one. It’s just how things work. It’s just how society moves. Time is a cruel mistress, I said earlier. It waits for no one. But time is also a circle. The kids now will grow up to be parents and grandparents and their concern for their kids may one day be misconstrued as interference. Their inability to comprehend things may be met with impatience by their children someday.
It’s time to break this cycle. Let’s bridge this generation gap with a road so strong that it transcends ages—from children to their parents to their grandparents. Let’s create a society that promotes understanding between generations today, so that when the youngsters become seniors in a few decades, this becomes a thing of the past.
This is exactly what we’re trying to do with Setu-Let’s Bridge the Gap, a play presented by Grow Younger. In association with Theatre for Tomorrow, and venue partner Holyriver International, this play is a labor of love and care. On October 15, 2022, some very talented actors will showcase scenarios of generations that will resonate with you and hopefully urge you to cement this gap with your older and younger generation both.
Be kind to everyone!