Ways to close the generation gap
One of the burning issues of this modern era is the ever-widening gap between the young and the old. When one talks about the old, one does not mean men and women who are in their sixties or seventies but parents who are in their late thirties and early forties.
Since the children born after 2012 are always born with the television, internet and computers, their pace of learning is so good and alarming to say the least. One does find three year old children talk too many things, often beyond the normal comprehension at the age of three. In fact, many parents then go into a state of comparison, often comparing "just compare what we did at the age of three", conveniently forgetting that the world then, was a totally different place, when there was much less tension, much less pollution and, of course, much less inflation to contend with.
What, then, can be done to bridge the generation gap? There are quite a few answers, and each of these examining each of them in some detail.
The first step in handling the generation gap is to openly acknowledge the fact that the whole world has changed. The country is in the tip of a massive revolution --what goes sold in the USA, in the form of most advanced electronic goods, gets sold in India, within six months flat. The world itself is becoming a global village.
The day is not far away when India will also do the catching up in terms of manufacturing its own range of electronic goods. Already, in the FMCG industry, for example, there are Indian warriors who are giving the Multinational Companes a run for their money.
Be that as it may, when we make comparisons, we should never kindle the imagination of the young, by talking about the good old days.
It is not that the present day children are not socially conscious. They are, in their own way and,on their own terms. Their idea of poverty, particularly those who are born and brought up in the urban areas, is not so accurate as those in the rural areas. The children in the urban areas, more so, those who belong to the neo-rich families and the upper middle-class are very well informed and have maturity levels that match international standards. They are always on the go, unlike the good old days, when our parents use to do most of the thinking and planning and execution for us.
Today, the children tend to do their own thinking, planning and execution and, it is time that we realized this vital change. This is step two. That is, apart from understanding this changed reality, we need to realize that we should compulsorily bend down to their own demands and allow them to get their own things done, in their own way.
A vital trend that one notices is that even doctors and engineers who would possibly have become professionals in their own right, have closely identified themselves with the media and have taken up careers that arew not only lucrative, but also very much in line what they actually think they should be doing in their own way.
They would tend to call that their "passion" and rightly so. Why not? In our days, we never had these TV serials and we never had so much of this media explosion. There are huge careers to be built in media, which is exactly what the younger generation are grabbing with both their hands, brains and their intellect.
The day is not far off, when ten year old children would openly declare to their parents that they would specialize in something that resembles their passion, and forget the rest -- including studies. Yes, there are so many in the cinema field, for example, who are just graduates or even undergraduates. Yet, they have followed their heart and are quite successful.
The third step is to allow the young children to have their own role models. Most parents do not understand that the Icon --- the late Steeve Jobs -- is now the role model for millions around the world. Since he has been solely responsible for building the world's best IT company called Apple computers, he is considered a role model.
Most parents, particularly in India, have fixed mind sets. Get your child into studying in one of the most horrible "cramming schools", so that, as part of the rat race,. the child would become a good engineer or a doctor, in the main.
Really? Most parents would never know the inner craving of the child, which would be deeply buried in the heart of the child and, mostly forgotten as well. Already, in the urban jungles, the sports and games activities have almost become zero. We really have not seen any improvement in urban infrastructure, and it is but natural that children travel great distances in school and college buses, to just study and survive. This is a big problem in the metros, and will continue to be so. There is no respite from this rat race.
For example, in Chennai, at any time between 5PM and 7PM, one would encounter atleast one thousand school and college buses fighting for space in the narrow roads of the huge metropolis. Yes, there are some superb roads, but such roads are also over-crowded.
So, allow the children to have their own role models, even when studying the more conventional courses. Let them express themselves, to the macimum extent possible.
The fourth step is to understand that no two individuals are the same. It is futile and stupid to always compare the child with someone else. The abilities are different, the personalities are mostly different, and there is often a big gap between what we think as correct in one particular situaiton and what is actally correct for the child.
The fifth step is to attempt to spend some quality time with the child, explaining to him or her, our love and affection for him or her, through subtle ways. Once the child is allowed his or her own space, the child will have no difficulty in acknowledging our love and affection.
Truth be told, the ability to think and act independently is now slowly speading to the B class cities like Vizag or Kochi or Coimbatore and to other cities as well. It is even finding its own space in the rural areas as well.
So, let us not assume that we can impose or attempt to impose our ways on children of today's era. This artilce has merely highlighted some points. There are other ways too -- for example, making the child mulit-skilled so that he or she becomes an effortless multi-tasker.
We need to close the generation gap. We should do it now, for tomorrow may be too late.
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