Generational gap always occurs between one generation and another. This is something inevitable. No matter how much we try to avoid it, no matter how Christian we are, it seems very difficult for us to be free of it. Friction is always there between children and parents.
Why does it have to happen this way? We have to understand that people from different generation experience different things during their life time. For example, there are parents who experienced war, but their children do not understand anything about war; parents who live in the era where racism still occurred, but their children mingle with different-raced friends; parents who got limited education, but their children pursue education to the maximum limit, and so on.
All of the above resulted in different thinking methods (perspective). These parents usually will linger to their past. They will keep their way of thinking, not willing to change, even though it is no longer applicable in the modern globalization time. Meanwhile, the children do not agree with the way their parents think. They will even call their parents “dinosaurs” to point out that their parents need to change the way they think or they will become extinct. This will further result in problems and conflicts.
One of the instances where generational gap can be seen so distinctively is when the parents are somewhat racist in their heart (thinking that one race is better than the other), but their children fall in love with someone from another race and even get married to another race. Imagine the drama… the rejection… the hurt… the pain…, and the years they have to spend trying to mend the broken relationship between parents and children.
Another example will be parents who cannot let go. They are still treating their children like babies and toddlers, though they are already grown up and married. Children who are grown up and already married will have their own culture, their way of doing things, their favourite food (which may not be mom’s cooking anymore). However after all these years, their parents still think that these children are babies whom they carry in their arms.
Now that we know what kind of damage this generational gap can do to our family, we have to ask ourselves a question, “How do I prevent it from happening to my family.” This is a note to all parents and children in the world. Go back to what the Bible says. We can try to figure out 1001 ways on our own, nevertheless we will find out that God’s way is the best way. Ephesians 6:1-4, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’ And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
Pray this kind of prayer, “Lord, give me courage to change the things that I can change, and to accept the things that I cannot change.” Years ago, my mom told me that we cannot just feel unsatisfied with what our parents have done to us, instead we must learn from their mistakes and make sure that we will do better than them. This way we can ensure that the next generation will always be better than the last.
Brothers and sisters, my prayers are with you, that you will have the courage to be the doers of the Word of God. Live in honor and respect to one another, love unconditionally, forgive, and reconcile when there is still time to do it. Do not wait until it is too late. When one is already buried under the ground, no matter how hard you cry, your tears will not bring back the time that you lost. I often met people who wish they had reconciled with their parents before they died. I can see the regrets and guilty feeling, because they had not done it. Take this opportunity to be healed from your emotional wounds, and reconcile… God bless you!
This post is also available in: Indonesian