‘Generation gap’ indeed has become a problem today. Life is not like climbing a staircase. It is not that once you ascend some steps you can forget about the lower ones. Life does not progress or develop in that manner. Building one’s life is like constructing a building. You lay a brick one on top of the other and if the brick below comes loose or breaks then the one on top of it cannot last long.
Similarly, in life the problem of ‘Generation gap’ arises if one de-links himself from one’s past which means that as we grow into a teenager we must not de-link our awareness of our childhood. Rather we should keep alive the innocence and the simplicity of the child in our consciousness. If the child within the teenager dies, it brings about disorder in the teenager’s life.
If a person can retain his trust in God just as a child trusts his parents, then the child within him remains alive. One should grow young keeping alive the child within oneself. A child is innocent, simple and carefree but also lacks education and strength. So as one grows into a teenager one gains education as well as physical strength. Hence there should be an addition in our qualities. So we then become innocent, simple, carefree, intelligent and physically strong. But if the child within us dies then the intellectual and physical strength that comes with youth will go astray.
In the same way as an individual grows older, he gains wisdom. When he is young, he has the strength but lacks wisdom but by the time he becomes middle aged he gains wisdom. It is rightly said that one ripens with old age. Thus what we lacked in young age is now set right with becoming wise. But even in old age the child and the youth within us should not be allowed to die. If they do then all enthusiasm is lost and becomes a burden.
Therefore the problem arises when we live life in segments. First we enjoy our childhood, then we grow young and enjoy our youth but forget our childhood and later on we grow old and forget our youthful zest. This creates a problem. Life has to be wholesome and lived completely.
Believing in God essentially implies believing life also to be a ‘God’s gift’. Seeking God means seeking an integral holistic life which means that when an old person plays with a child he will be able to relate himself with the child. He yearns to talk to the child and play with the child. In fact, he is keen to relive his childhood along with the child. Similarly, if an old person has retained the youthful zest within, then youngsters will enjoy the company of elders. In such a situation the problem of ‘Generation gap’ does not arise.
The old person understands the young people and becomes young with them. There would be problems that he might have faced when he was young which would enable him to empathize with the youth today but life is dynamic, ever changing. Not all problems that were there in his young age would still be troubling today’s youth. They may be facing some new problems yet if the youth within the old person is alive he will understand their problems and he will be able to guide them suitably. He can become their friend, philosopher and guide. Being an aged person he will earn their respect. Thus there will be no problem of ‘Generation gap’.
Parents should trust their children. While they should not be left so loose that they become spoilt, they should also not be over controlled that they might get tempted to do something sneakily. Parents should maintain a balance between these two tendencies. Our scriptures also say that once the son attains the age of sixteen he should be treated as a friend. Then don’t preach him and don’t teach him. The job of preaching and teaching should be completed before he attains the age of sixteen. If it is not done then and if you try to do it now, there will be problems. Now you should discuss issues in a friendly manner. Parents should not pressurize their children so much that they feel like indulging stealthily in wrongful activities.