Mixed Messages

Mixed Messages

MIXED MESSAGES AMONG GENERATIONS

While there is a genuine love and fondness between grandparents, parents and grandchildren, often communication is difficult because of the generation gap. As a grandmother, I know I'm somewhat dismayed as my grandkids get tattoed and I really don't understand how piercings in eyebrows, cheeks, nose and tongue can be considered attractive. Of course to my grandchildren I'm just old fashioned.

Unfortunately the "generation gap" extends to our verbal communication as well. I can remember when my grandchildren were taking a walk with grandpa... all barefooted. Grandpa turned to the oldest one and said, "Will you run back to the house and get my thongs?"

As all the grandchildren gasped, grandpa quickly figured out that his definition of "thong" or flip-flops as they are called today, is quite different from the extremely brief panties that our kids and grandkids refer to as thongs today.

Grandparents often share with their granchildren how they had to walk miles to school in the cold of winter, while the kids may be dealing with issues that far exceed anything their grandparents or parents could imagine.

To help overcome misunderstandings and to better relate to the challenges each generation faces/faced, your family might try this exercise... Now and Then.

Invite members of different generations to participate -- kids, parents and grandparents. Once you've gathered, have your group respond to the questions, one at a time. Remember to include the emotional element to your answers. By doing this each member will start to understand that along with being different, there are many similarities between the generations. For example, the feelings a person experiences when falling in love, or losing a loved one.

NOW & THEN

  1. I love(d)/hate(d) being a teenager because ....'No, grandma, hashtags are not something you order with eggs.'
  2. My life is (was) stressful because ...
  3. My parents don't (didn't) understand that ...
  4. School is (was) ...
  5. Some of my friends are (were) ....
  6. My best friend is (was) ...
  7. I want(ed) to be ...
  8. I want(ed to go ...
  9. I would like (wanted) to buy ...
  10. My favorite thing to do is (was) ...
  11. My favorite movie is (was) ...
  12. A person I admire(d) is (was) ....
  13. My mom is (was) ...
  14. My dad is (was) ...
  15. My brothers and sisters are (were) ...
  16. I hate(d) doing ...
  17. I hate(d) going ....
  18. Life would be (have been) easier if ...
  19. My goals are (were) to ...
  20. If I could (have) change(d) one thing, it would be (have been) ...

Many of the questions are vague creating an opportunity to ask questions of each person. Be interested .... and non-judgement.

This exercise can create a bond, a real understanding between generations that will help members to appreciate and better understand the challenges faced by each.

 

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Lynda Fisher is the author of Your Legacy, Your Life and I Wish You Happiness: Creating an Ethical Will for the People You Love. She is passionate about the practice of Legacy writing. As a speaker, author and business entrepreneur, she is sharing her message with others throughout North America in hopes they will join her in her crusade to preserve their life stories and family history.

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