Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap

Ever find yourself scratching your head over the kids these days?

Quick quiz:

Have you ever heard your kid refer to the figures in Monopoly as “icons” instead of “tokens”?

Have you ever been meandering through a thrift store to hear your child exclaim: “Mom, look at the size of that CD!” while they are pointing at a vintage LP collection?

Have you ever been ice skating and heard one of your favorite songs while growing up, only to have your enjoyment interrupted by some teenager saying, “Hey, an oldie goldie song!”?

Have you ever said, “When I was a kid….”?

If you answered any or all of them with a resounding “Yes”, then you have already experienced the generation gap.

Ah, the good ol’ days! Why is it, that when we look back on when we grew up, nostalgia wipes out all the negativity we felt at the time? Maybe it is because as teenagers, we were raving lunatics with out-of-control hormones, and everything was dramatic, big, and life-changing. As we got older we became more emotionally stable and have more perspective and logic.

More often than I would like to admit, I find myself saying to my kids: “Well, when I was your age….” Fill in the blank with any number of assertions of idyllic and misremembered childhood days. For example, before we were given a Wii U, we had one computer and a laptop in the house. The laptop was always off limits, and the computer time was meted out according to age and availability. One of my children complained one day as to the state of the affairs, as far as electronics go. I went full fledged, “When I was a kid, we played outside!”

“Mom, but it’s hailing!”

“Never stopped us! It builds character.”

Okay, maybe it did stop us, but we played board games or hung out. We did have an Atari, which at the time was cutting edge gaming (I totally just dated myself!). But we didn’t live by it. Yes, we enjoyed a good round of Yars’ Revenge or Asteroids, but mostly we had face to face time with our friends. These days a face to face encounter is a 10 second Snapchat that isn’t even saved for later reference. This can be an issue in our area, where the internet is flakey at best. I’ve had conversations with my kids at college that went something like this:

“What r u talking bout?”

“What? When?”

“A few minutes ago.”

“Don’t remember.”

How’s that for a meaningful conversation?

Of course, the internet wasn’t even a commodity back in the good ol’ days, either. We had T.V.’s where we had to get up and change the channel, phones attached the wall, and a Betamax tape player. When I was a teenager my parents gave me a stereo that had the record player, two cassette players, and an 8-track! (You get points if you know what a Betamax player was, and bonus points if you know what an 8-track player was).

Technology isn’t the only change over the last generation. There are philosophies of social conduct and linguistic interpretation that have altered over the last few decades. One such example was brought to my attention recently when my 8 year old was reading his Bible. He came to me and posed the following question:

“Mom, why are there random smiley faces all over in my Bible?”

I couldn’t imagine what he was talking about so I asked him to show me. He did.

Mark 6:12 “And King Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad :) ….”

Very funny. So, instead of the current generation seeing the colon and end parenthesis as the earmark of the ending of a literary aside, they now see smiley faces at random intervals. I guess it could be worse. When I was growing up the best known symbol was the one featured on the bumper sticker that said, “Honk if you want to see my finger”.

A strange shift in philosophy was brought to my attention when I was chatting with one of my college-aged daughters at dinner. I had just finished one of those “when I was your age” statements regarding face to face conversation. “Not only did we talk face to face, but we looked each other in the eye out of respect and to show we were listening!” My daughter told me that in her Social Studies class they did a little experiment. She had to stare unblinkingly into someone’s eyes while they were conversing with her. My husband and I looked at each other both wondering what the big deal was, and why that would be an experiment? Our daughter explained and it was obvious that the intent of the whole project flew right over our speckled gray heads; that not looking away periodically made others uncomfortable because it was a breach of privacy.

A what? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. According to what I just heard, young people today consider it a breach of privacy if you don’t break eye contact and look the other way every so often when talking to them. Shifty eyes have replaced what my generation learned as polite social manners. Personally, if someone doesn’t look me in the eye when I’m talking to them, I find that offensive, or even suspicious; I wonder if I’m about to be hit by a truck, or a thief running away from the police after stealing a poor old lady’s purse.

I have to wonder what is next? Will it be socially unacceptable to actually talk face to face at some point? Actually, in some ways, it already is. Witness to that would be all the social hook-ups on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat- just to name a few. Back in the good ol’ days we spoke in person to each other so that we could rightfully read voice inflection and body language. I have to wonder how many statements are misinterpreted because two of the key elements we use to communicate to each other are largely absent from our culture.

Yes, there is a generation gap. There always has been no matter which generation you are in. However, I think that if both sides of the gap strive towards better understanding, it can be bridged in a way that benefits all.

Cover Image Credit: Brage Neslein Korsnes

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To the girl who left us behind

You may have thought that it was best for you, but in reality you were only helping us

To the girl who left us behind,

I graduated in 2017. Nearly one year ago. When you graduate you expect to stay in touch with some people, but you accept that there are some people who you will probably never see again, let alone talk to. After walking across the stage, getting my diploma and attending all of the graduation parties I said goodbye to some people, forever, without even knowing it.

For almost as long as I can remember I have had three best friends. We were practically inseparable since 6th or 7th grade. It was rare that you would see one of us without at least one or two others around. We spent weekends at each others houses, played on the same sports teams, joined the same clubs, and practically did everything together. The boys that we would hang out with would make fun of us because they noticed it seemed to them that we couldn’t do anything without the others. It wasn’t that we couldn’t do anything alone, we just enjoyed being around each other, we were best friends.

That was until we graduated. We were best four best friends until we walked across the stage, said our goodbyes after the final graduation party and parted ways as we went to college. It didn’t even take until college to see who was really my friends of the four of us, it was less than a week before I never heard from one of my so called best friends ever again. And for this, I could not be more thankful.

In our group of four there was always a clear line, two and two. I loved the other two girls but I was always just better friends with one girl. It had been like this for forever, and everyone knew it, not just us. But once we graduated it became extremely true. But it didn’t break two and two. It was one and three. And this was sad and frustrating at first, and then ended up being a great thing, for all of us.

Nearly 9 months without talking and I knew all hope for the friendship was gone once i saw she tweeted ‘my biggest glow up feature in college was my friends’. At the time yes, this pissed me off. I texted my other friends as soon as I saw it and sad things like “I don’t know what is worse, that we were great friends and put up with her shit. Or that we still sat in that house last week, were the bigger people and acted like nothing ever happened even though we all know we don’t talk to her anymore.” The amount of time I spent with this girl, the amount of secrets of mine she held, the amount of late night memories we shared and there was nothing, no explanation, no final goodbye. Just complete silence. There was that tweet which made it pretty clear she had no interest in being friends with us anymore.

But it made me a better person. I realized that the entire time we had been friends she was tearing me down. She was killing my happiness and I never even noticed it. Our relationship was a toxic one and she did me the biggest favor in the world by cutting me off, because I was afraid to do it myself.

She thinks her biggest ‘glow up’ was her friends. And knowing her, that is probably exactly what she believes. But that is NOT mine. My biggest glow up was growing up, realizing my worth and surrounding myself with people who truly care about me and radiate positivity. And I am thankful and blessed that the people I have surrounded myself with now continue to be with me through this entire process. I am continuing to learn everyday that people who make you feel like you’re not worth anything are never worth your time. I have grown and realized that you can give someone one million chances, you can give them all of your time and love and compassion and understanding. But if they don’t want it or they think they are to good for it than you are better off being left on read, or completely left behind. AND THAT IS OK.


The girl who is finally happy now that you're gone

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I Love Being An Aunt

Aunt- a person who can give hugs like a mother, keep secrets like a sister, and share love like a friend.

While home for spring break, I was able to spend some quality time with my four year old niece and my two year old nephew. Both of them boost my mood and remind me just how much I love the joy that kids constantly carry around.

I have been an aunt for almost five years, and it is one of my favorite things about my life. There's a special place in my heart for these kids, and I can't begin to explain how much they mean to me. My niece and I bond in a way that makes my heart so full of joy. She is constantly running to me with her arms wide open for a hug. She always wants to hang out with me, and it makes me feel so important. Not to mention, spoiling her is one of my favorite things to do!

My nephew has such a big personality for his age. He loves when I give him piggy-back rides and hurt myself on purpose. His smile is contagious and his heart is already so so big. Him and my niece are both so friendly and can make me laugh for hours.

I would love to be a mom one day, but being an aunt is something that is truly unique and wonderful. I feel so protective over these two smiling kids. I would do anything to help them have the best life ever. They have amazing parents and grandparents. so I know that they are blessed and happy.

I am truly a proud aunt. I get so excited to show my friends the cute pictures my sister posts of them. I always feel so sad when my niece just can't understand why I have to keep leaving her to go back to college. But she is always there to greet me when I come home after my long, seven hour drive. Her grin and laugh keep me going.

I hope to be an aunt to even more wonderful little kids. Nothing fills my heart up and fulfills my time at home more!

Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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