The Generational Gap

Have you ever heard the phrase “Respect your elders”? It’s one of which I grew up really close to. My mother always told me to respect those that are older than you. It was something people told their kids twenty years ago. Perhaps even now. I’m sure some parents repeat the trend from when they were children. It’s not a bad thing. Respecting your elders is a good thing.

I won’t be telling Alex to respect his elders. And pounding it into his brain. Why? Well, because I feel that if you raise a child to the best of your abilities then they will copy your actions. Plus, there is an automatic respect that comes with older people anyway. I’m still trying to decide if it’s infused into our very being, or if it’s learned behaviour.

I remember growing up I had quite a few younger friends than me. Some, a year, others, quite a few years. And with that age cap came an unspoken respect. I never knew it at the time. I thought it was just because they liked me, but, in actual fact there was an air of respect because I was an older man. I know, because people told me.

“Raymond, I used to SO look up to you when I was younger”

And yet I couldn’t understand it at the time. Because I was just a kid myself. Perhaps not the embodiment of a younger man, but mentally I was there. Mentally I was still swinging off chandeliers, drunk, with no life responsibilities. I was right down there with them. But I didn’t know that at the time. Yeah, it’s safe to say that over the last 10 years I’ve probably grown twenty in mentality years. I thank my wife for that. Like any loving relationship, you both feed on each other.

There’s something important that we’ve missed along the way, though. As we get older and relax further in our arm chairs and don the pipe and slippers we gently start to forget what it was like to be a youngster. We get more and more adverse to risk as we become older. I remember climbing a steep hill where a slip an inch to the left could have had me plummeting to my death. What about the youth of today? Do we actually respect our youth? We should. I feel we really should.

back in my day

I see a lot of pictures and meme’s disrespecting youngsters and their way of life. Saying that we didn’t do such things 30 years ago (like the picture above). Yes, we didn’t have Facebook, Social Media, or even the Internet, we had to make do with our footballs and imagination, and if we were lucky our zx spectrums. But that doesn’t make my generation better. It just makes us different. A completely different era in a non-technologically advanced state. The information age has been quite literally a BOOM. I’ve watched it unfold before my very eyes.

Yet when we start to complain about the youth of today, isn’t that a serious black mark on us as a generation? Since we were the one’s tasked with raising them. We were supposed to help them learn how to cope with an exponentially growing technological environment whilst speed learning it ourselves. I used to think that the only people complaining would be people without kids. I was sure. But you need not look far before I see my Facebook littered with “back in my day” posts that literally disrespect the fuck out of the children that they raised. Yes, these are people with grown children.

And let’s not forget how easy we had it as children. Those were the days when you were stuck in bed with an illness the doctor was able to come out and see you. There wasn’t crazy queue’s for the doctors or the dentists, and claiming unemployment was a relatively easy feat. Want a job? Easy, there was plenty to go around had you the aptitude for it. Not like the thousands you see now applying for one available job.

Our streets are SO much cleaner now. I remember playing in the litter twisters as a kid when the wind would catch piles of rubbish and swirl them around in a corner. We’re raising one of the most tolerant and humane societies. I see it now. I remember being in the car with my friend that is 20 years older than me. He called an illness “retardation” to which I corrected him. It isn’t his fault. Just a different era. And kids today, are probably far more tolerant than I could ever be.

So when you’re about to throw a “back in my day” meme out there in the ether. Spare a thought to those it may effect. Ask yourself was it really better in my day or was it just different and am I looking at things through rose tinted glasses? Am I just looking at a chance to escape? Am I just being bitter a bit too much? Because chances are if you actually were transported back to your golden era, you’d hate it. I know I would. I’ve lived them years. No way do I want to repeat them.

Spare a thought for people trying to make sense of the world right now. Trying to find their place and where they fit in amongst everything. They’re just starting out, just learning. And the last thing they need is a meme about how bad they are. Young people aren’t walking out into the easiest way of life there has ever been. It’s a tough old slog out there right now. Let’s spare a moment and help them.

Let’s work together

Let’s respect young people and what they achieve. Let’s try and understand their way of life instead of further slipping away from the reality. Let’s instead of judging their way and wagging our fingers from afar, try and understand what’s going on at their level.

Definitely respect your elders. I agree.

But respect your youngsters too.

Thanks for reading the generational gap

The Generational Gap
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I'm a man that's been through the pitfalls and elations of relationships in my ever growing quest to better my knowledge in the human condition. I've been in the game and around the Internet since 1996 and surprisingly I'm still using it today. I've definitely found myself in some weird and wonderful places and I hope to share all of this with you lucky people.

6 COMMENTS

  1. My parents were in their 40s when I was born, so I feel like i was raised by a different generation than my peers. I also went to Catholic school and had a very strict stepmother, so it was all about respect for your elders. I still refer to people older than I as Mr. or Mrs. Last Name, rather than by their first names.

    One of my stepmom’s favorite quotes was:”Children should be seen and not heard”. I think that sums up my upbringing very well. 🙂

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