See Youth

Inter-generational learning

Even a clock that’s not ticking still tells the right time twice a day

 Be honest, how many times have you rolled your eyes when an older person asked for help with their phone or computer? Most young people are so advanced with technology, and modern-day living that they get frustrated when someone older than them just doesn’t ‘get it’. Have you ever considered that in the eyes of the older generations, there are also things that they know that you just don’t get? Each generation brings with it its secret blend of knowledge and experience. True wisdom comes from being open to learning from each other and bridging the gap between generations in a positive way.

Be open to learning from the experience of the older generations

The world is progressing so fast that experiences from one generation to the next will never be the same. Instead of working in silos, generations could work together and learn from each other. There are many companies that have as many as four generations working for them, including Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z. Unfortunately, there are younger people who feel the older generations are conservative, outdated and boring. Then there are older generations who label our youth as lazy, uncommitted and self-centred. Each generation has its weaknesses and its strengths. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if we rather focussed on each generation’s strengths?

This is how you can benefit from the older generations

Next time you feel the urge to roll your eyes or scoff at an older person, think about these benefits that you could get from them, if you chose to focus on their strengths instead of their weaknesses:

  • Family history: older people can tell you all about the history of your family – they lived through it. Imagine learning about your family tree from someone who has actually met some of the people who have passed on since your birth? They can tell you what life was like those days, what worked, what didn’t work, how much things cost, what they did with their pocket money and how they found their first job.
  • Historical information: the older generations have lived through major historical events like apartheid, the Sharpeville protests, the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the world’s first heart transplant operation performed by South African surgeon, the first television transmissions in South Africa, Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Nelson Mandela going to jail and being released 27 years later. The list goes on and on. They can tell you first hand how they felt, what their views were and why they had those views. A goldmine of history!
  • Rituals and traditions of earlier times: to keep traditions and rituals going, doesn’t it make sense to understand why they were started in the first place? To know the reasons for having rituals and traditions will help you to have an attachment to them to. That way you can explain them to the generations that follow yours and keep the traditions alive and on track.
  • Soft skills: this includes practical living skills, coping with stress, detailing with heartbreak, how to budget and save money, how to manage a household, how to study, how to care for your mental and physical health. These skills come with time. Time that you have not yet had.

There are many more benefits that you can get from your older generations, if you just saw the value in what they have lived through and what they have experienced. Keep an open and positive mind and be more forgiving when they ask you to help them set up their what’s app!

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