Thursday, 31 October 2019

Coexisting with generational shifts by adaptation


Inspired from Facebook
On the usual scans of my Facebook timeline, I came across a post by a good friend of mine about the issue of developing emotional attachments between generations. Much of what he had to say I could very well agree with, but I also had an additional viewpoint which I have extracted from my comment into this blog. [Facebook]
I started with this, “Much as I can agree with you, this part I have thought about for a long time.”
Time and environment
I needed to address this particular statement, “You young people need to be kinder to your parents. They are the products of their time and environment.
It is a good getaway clause, but in my 50s I have learnt I can't use generational exculpation to excuse myself from the responsibilities of emotional engagement with relations across the full spectrum of existence.
I have my generation and the times in which I grew up along with the environments that have helped cultivate my outlook and worldview, yet, I have to coexist with those before me; from when I was a child had parents, grandparents and a great-grandmother along with extended family and other relations,  and those after me; two generations now, of nieces and nephews and their children, along with the extended family that has grown out of the relationships they have cultivated, not only to be relevant but to also have a sense of belonging.
Generational shifts we belong in
My parents have by fate or fortune had to deal with issues they would never have countenanced in their core generation, from the 1960s into the 1980s, but have had to find accommodations for in the three growing generations after them, of children, of grandchildren and possibly great-grandchildren. My father was 80 on Saturday.
We have had our differences, we still do, but slowly he began to recognise that he can't always have his way as the opinions of his middle-aged children begin to dominate and determine the direction of issues. It was hard-won, but education on all sides. I have to learn that difference does not have to exacerbate conflict. Where I am infuriated, I need to find the necessary communication of persuasion, amelioration and compromise, to an extent.
Have a voice that can be heard
Yes, we probably should do more to engender better communion with our parents who are still with us, but if we fail to use our voices at the critical and crucial times, where there are many occasions for it, we would never have a say when it really matters, or when we do, they would be too deaf to hear or heed. Then, it becomes impossible and differences would become irreconcilable. Sadly, the end of this is regret for could have, should have or would have been done give a new opportunity.
We all must coexist with generations, we met here and those we would eventually leave behind, that is the process of our growth it was the process of growth from time immemorial, no one gets excuses to be an island of immunity and impunity, parent, child or grandchild alike. That we must seize the moments and find ways to cherish them would matter for a lifetime.
Make love, not war
My friend ends with this useful, thoughtful and necessary advice, “Your parents wanting an emotional connection may be coming late, but it is what you always wanted, so embrace it now. Seize the moment. Make new memories. Make love, not war. And do not forget to take lots of selfies. Sooner or later, they will be gone.
I guess we need to decide on what memories we want to have of our parents when there is a reckoning of the lives we have shared.

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