Closing the Generation Gap This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

February 3, 2017

The generation gap may not be as recognized as it was in the 1960s, but it is arguably wider now than it has ever been.

As a young person, I am always hearing the “back in my day” spiel. We are always being told how we can learn from our elders, but do they ever think that maybe they can learn something from the younger generation? Undoubtedly, they lived a much different lifestyle than the teenagers today do. Although it is certainly true that older people did not have the same access to technology today’s younger generation has, they can still learn from today’s youth.

Seniors and kids have a lot in common. Though older people have more experience than the those younger than them, I think that people from every generation has something to learn from each other.

When sitting down at the dinner table with the family, engaging in conversation is a great way to learn about one another. If my parents ask me how my day was, I try to be honest instead of using the go-to teenage response, “I’m fine.” By opening up and sharing my knowledge with them, they are more interested in what I have to say. More often than not, I am the one who has to help them figure out my younger sister’s math homework, since the math that is being taught in school today seems like a completely different language than what they learned when they were in school. Like many other kids, I even have fix my parents’ cell phones because they aren’t as tech-savvy as we happen to be.

Truthfully, we have a lot to offer our elders. We should not assume that it is up to them to take the initiative to understand our way of life, though. Many of them do not know where to begin because life nowadays is changing so quickly that it is hard for anyone to keep up. We have to help introduce them to our world for us to better understand the other side of the story.

After my grandfather had to undergo surgery in Pittsburgh a few months ago, it was difficult for the family to find the time to visit him. The weather was never in our favor, and after my sister and I came home from school and finished our homework, our parents were ready to throw in the towel for the day. Then, when my aunt was visiting him one night, she pulled out her iPhone and showed him how to video call. Our family got to see my grandpa in the hospital without even leaving the living room. The technology that people his age give a bad rap allowed him to visit with us ‘face-to-face’ while we were an hour away from him.

All in all, the experiences of one generation could never cover all that there is to learn. One day we will be in the same position they are now, so it is better for us to learn from each other while we still can.

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