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Bridging the Gap

Photograph by Klara Pospisilova


After reading my post about the Generation Gap, I was delighted to receive questions from 23-year old, Soumya Gupta. It was an honor to hear her thoughts and questions. Here is part of that conversation.

(Soumya) Hi, John! I read your post: The Perpetual Generation Gap and I liked your perspective toward the millennials. However, can you give me one such contrasting example of parent-child relationship? You state that “instead of finding reasons to criticize them, we should be conversing with them to get a greater understanding of who they are…They will never do things the way we did them because it is a different world!” Correct me if I am wrong, but I see two points here. “Understanding of who they are” – Does this imply parents should allow their children to take up profession they care about, howsoever unusual? And second, “they will never do things the way we did” states millennials have unconventional methods to tackle situations. Is it so?

(John) Allow me to start with your second point. It’s not that the all their methods are unconventional, it’s the way problems are approached are with a different type of thinking.

Baby Boomers were often shamed into “believe this way or else”. We believed because we “had” to. Millennials consider things. I believe your generation does not respect how we approached solutions because we were not more open minded.

What Millennials need to understand is that is how generally things worked. We listened, followed, and obeyed. Which isn’t necessarily the best way to do things but it was how it was.

Both generations can now sit together and talk about it. Accept how each approaches issues and find a solution together. You can learn from our experience and we can promote a healthier relationship by being more accepting. It is a broad generalization but I hope you get my gist.

(Soumya) Yes, makes perfect sense. Thank you for taking out time to explain me.

(John) Regarding a profession. In a perfect world, everyone does what he or she wants. However, there is this thing called reality.

(Soumya) True! 😅

(John) I believe your generation is jaded by how much greed and the attraction that money brings to my generation – no matter how often we hear that money doesn’t buy happiness.

Millennials want to enjoy life and not fret so much about the gaining of money. Of course, there will always be those who think money is power and will usurp it in any way possible but for the most part, millennials aren’t being sold by the capitalist greed that sometimes haunts the US.

(Soumya) I hear you. Because that’s what we have been made to believe by everyone.

(John) And that is the fault of our generation. We have grown up with the philosophy that our parents want us to do better and our children to do better than we. But what is doing better?

Happiness is internal and while money may help in some ways, we must  seek to be happy in whatever state we find ourselves; rich, poor, overweight, too thin, etc.

As humans, it is inevitable that we judge others. Yes, we probably shouldn’t but we do. However, we use our own life as a measuring stick for others. That is where the problem lies. You won’t find happiness the way I do but I shouldn’t condemn you because you don’t (i.e. most religions and cultures)

No religion or culture SHOULD EVER feel bad about who they are.

Thank you to Soumya Gupta. She lives in Kolkata, India and aspiring to for a career in writing. Let’s all wish her the best!

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