Our generation rivets between showcasing ourselves with cool and easy going personalities to our peers and educated and modern torch bearers to our elders. It isn’t easy to clearly define what our previous generations mean to us.
We are expected to follow their footsteps but deep inside there is an urge to make our own mark.
This makes our relation with our previous generations all the more complicated. This is the path that we have to tread carefully – as in what to take and what to leave from them. We tend to idolize them because we believe that age is the greatest denominator of experience.
I have seen what a joint family arrangement feels like. And even in case of rising number of nuclear families, our elders made it a point to be as close knit as possible. They continue and encourage an involvement within family, neighbourhood and communities. This comes in handy, in times of festivity and misery, both. Any tiny celebration reaches the mark of grandeur due to the mere presence of the extended family and likewise in sorrow when everyone comes in together.
This is something that our generation thoroughly lacks. Sitting by our laptops and being glued to mobile phones and social networking sites take centre stage in our lives. But to pick up the phone to call our relatives or to walk in to a family gathering opens the gate of awkwardness. This is one thing that we can definitely learn from them.
However, this comes with a list of cons, a list of lessons that we must absolutely discard. Our previous generation takes upon themselves to revel on being free of social network addiction and for having what they term a real life. They also rave on giving meaning to family ties and society’s arrangements. But this very involvement that has been called the lesson that the previous generation can impart comes with its share of cons.
They enjoyed it a bit so much that they deemed upon themselves to have the right to raise questions and objections to a person’s lifestyle.
The involvement usually came uncalled for and often at the cost of privacy. Any child growing in a normal middle class household in India would agree that privacy is a foreign concept. Almost every decision ranging from a family picnic to dance classes and tuitions classes would need to be approved by multiple layers of the family almost in an hierarchical arrangement, to the extent that individual wishes take a backseat.
Oarenting techniques have definitely evolved in our generation. Our previous generation prided in scaring their children out of wits and lashing out at them if they didn’t work according to the former’s expectation. Career choices, lifestyle choices and even matrimonial choices were a myth because a choice was never handed out.
All in all, take from our previous generation the ability to stay close despite the odds and discard anything that doesn’t agree with your sane judgement. We don’t have to replicate them, we have to take pride in being the messed up generation that we are.