BRIDGING THE GAP

It is one thing to recognize that generational differences exist but it takes conscious efforts to be initiated proactively by the two generational groups so that the very differences can be used effectively to bridge the gap. Basically there is a big gap in the perception and understanding between generations, with the youngsters thinking and behaving differently and their aspirations being sometimes diametrically opposite to the accepted norms in the society which the elders have recognized and feel quite normal to follow the same. While the generation gap is a global phenomenon, in India its appropriate management through a mechanism inbuilt within the traditional family system reduced the problem to a great extent. But as of today, nuclear family system having become a necessity due to compulsion as a result of jobs away from home the society here is also witnessing the graph of generation gap reflecting an upward trend. The gaps on this count if not addressed properly can widen further with the passage of time bringing about a total disconnect between the current and future generations that could lead to a disastrous family and societal situations. The dimension which the generation gap has assumed today can be well judged from the fact that this has intruded even into work places where the productivity of the organizations is being adversely affected. While it is the duty of both the generations to find an effective solution to bridge this gap once for all, yet the seniors or the elder generation needs to take the first step as it is through their care and upbringing foundation can be laid for minimizing the gap. So it is at the family level that parents, grandparents, guardians or other caregivers need to focus on encouraging communication between younger and older individuals not only within the family but also beyond that. According to a survey, the number of seniors has globally increased to 56% till 2020, and as such it’s time to respond appropriately to the situation. It needs to be realized that primarily there are wide gaps in age, beliefs, traditions and habits that result in communication difficulties between the two and therefore the efforts of encouraging relationships and frequent interactions between youngsters and the senior community can go a long way in addressing the issue. During interactions with the Gen-Next, the elders need to understand the thoughts, fears, anxieties and the ambitions of the youth. Based on their experience, they can evaluate the possibility of productive application and implementation of such innovative thoughts in the society as per the existing acceptable norms. Even if the evaluation by elder generation is not acceptable to them, instead of confrontation, the Gen-Next should be welcome to be different as change is the part and parcel of a dynamic society. After all when today’s seniors were in youth, they too were restless to break out of the cocoons of restrictive thinking to charter a course of their choice. So let today’s elder generation not only accept but also encourage new thoughts and ideologies propounded by the young. The Gen-Next will automatically fall in line and the so called generation gap will get reduced to a bare minimum, thus resulting in a happy and prosperous society.