Generation gap exists in some form or the other in every stage of life. While, in most cases it is considered to be bad for the family and society, it might actually turn out to be good and fruitful, if viewed in a positive manner. Let’s try to understand how good or bad the generation gap can be.
Did you know…
… that in the 1960s, owing to a change in social attitudes, there emerged an ideological rift between the older and younger generations which was termed as a generation gap.
There are two important things, no human being can avoid – growing old and death. With every passing day, we humans grow older and supposedly more mature. Each and every moment seems to have something or the other in store for us; we tend to take in a lot of experiences, good and bad. But, more importantly, we tend to learn from our experiences and from our mistakes. Notably enough, whatever we learn is completely based on the current norms, which are prevalent in society in which we are born and raised. It also depends on the kind of domestic atmosphere we live in, which in turn, is also largely influenced by the social trends.
Therefore, it is quite obvious for a person born and brought up in the 1800s to have a completely different mindset from the one born and brought up in the 1900s or later. The problem arises when people belonging to different generations start attempting to impose their viewpoints on each other. This tug-of-war is commonly known as the ‘generation gap’. Generation gap can thus be defined as the difference in opinions and outlooks of the people belonging to two different generations.
Can Generation Gap be Beneficial?
With all the implications that generation gap may have, it can be both good and bad. It is good because it enables people belonging to different generations to look at the same thing with different perspectives. It also cultivates within people, an attitude of assimilation and tolerance. What is even more important is the fact that it opens up arenas of new ideas and thoughts for people. It also helps people experience and learn new things and technologies, which in the long run may help them in a great way. However, it is important for people to learn to let go, and give a keen eye, ear and thought to the problems and understandings of the younger generation.
Generation gap may turn out to be bad when people refuse to listen to the other generation or reject their ideas completely. This may result in bad and broken relationships. But, even though there may be seemingly great ideological conflicts between different generations, overcoming them and bridging the generation gap is possible. The only thing people need to do is to open up their minds and accept new things with an open heart. Of course, filtering the good and the bad is always vital, but it depends on the social setup of a particular era. The basic key is ‘change’, which needs to be incorporated in life.
“I suppose every generation has a conceit of itself which elevates it, in its own opinion, above that which comes after it.”
– Margaret Oliphant
Determinants of a Generation Gap
Conflicts, major and minor, happen everywhere. But, generation gap has certain peculiar determinants. This is owing to the fact that each generation has its own trends and its own ways to look at things and interpret them.
▶ The first and foremost determinant of an obvious generation gap is the language that people of different generations may use. For instance, in a family, the grandparents may prefer to speak in a native tongue, the parents might prefer the current national language, while the children may use slang while they speak. It may also be possible that the later generations might not know the language spoken by the older ones. This may create a sort of rift between two generations.
▶ Another obvious factor that determines a generation gap is the choice of apparel. Each and every generation has their own choice of clothing (this does not pertain to fashion but the kind of clothes, which are worn). It is pretty apparent in many cases that people of the older generation do not quite like the attire which the younger generations sometimes wear. On the other hand, youngsters argue that their clothes are in and trendy, and dismiss the ones worn by their parents and grandparents as being very uncomfortable and old-fashioned.
▶ The third and most important determinant of generation gap is the amount of technology that is used by people of different generations. With the passage of time and greater technological advancements, the younger generation the latest and the most advanced technologies at their disposal. They believe they can achieve virtually anything by a mere click of a button. Many times this assumption or view is contested by the older generation, saying that the younger generation is completely dependent on technology and cannot stand on their own.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are numerous other identifying factors of a generation gap. The point being that these factors, which seem simple on the surface, have a capacity to stretch the rift between the two generations to a point that relationships may actually break. However, by maintaining a positive outlook, sometimes, one can troubleshoot the problems posed by the generation gap. If taken in a positive way, generation gap can create a perfect, harmonious blend of passion and courage of the young, and the experience and wisdom of the old.