Bridging the Generation Gap

by Tiffany Manning

Each year National Grandparents Day is celebrated the Sunday following Labor Day. This holiday was first observed nationally in 1978, after legislation was passed by the United States Congress and the proclamation was signed by President Jimmy Carter. It’s celebrated in September as a sign of the “autumn years” of life. The purpose of National Grandparents Day is to honor grandparents, offer grandparents an opportunity to show appreciation for their grandchildren, and to help young people recognize the strength and guidance older adults can offer.


Intergenerational Conflict

We live in a society where there is a prevalence of intergenerational conflict. Older adults believe they always know what is best for today’s youth because they have been around longer, while adolescents often want to make decisions for themselves as a way of establishing their independence. Teenagers live in a fast-paced world and can adapt to constant change, while senior citizens are more accustomed to taking their time and often think that decisions made with haste are probably wrong. Older adults want to talk extensively about a situation, while young people desire immediate action; teenagers frequently view “adult speak” as teaching or preaching instead of a true conversation in which the ideas of both sides are shared and heard.


Intergenerational Interaction

Intergenerational interaction is an important way to counteract assumptions that often are made about particular age groups. When youth and older adults work together to accomplish a common goal (like completing a service project), both can realize that we all have wisdom to share. In a time when true fellowship is often replaced by texts and emails, we need to be intentional about fostering communication amongst different generations. There is much to learn from one another when we take the time to listen.

Add a Comment