As I grow older, I’ve noticed I am now the generation that says, “Kids today . . .” but it was not so long ago that I was that kid in reference. There is a lot of talk about “kids today,” but sadly, a large portion of it isn’t too complimentary. I wonder why that is.
Maybe it’s because kids today are often smarter than we were (back in the day). They spot B.S. a lot faster than we did, and they tend to grasp technological advancements at astounding speed, and – the areas of difference go on and on. So maybe the older generation is quick to recount the not-so-shiny traits that seem to populate the “kids today” because they are different, and difference means change. Change is not a popular word for the older generation☺.
Yet, if you take the time to get to know that millennial, or that Gen X’er, or even the newest gen – “Gen Z,” you’ll find treasure! The ideas they have! The opinions! Even if their opinions aren’t based on fact or any discernible research – the creativity involved and their firmness in stating said opinion is impressive.
As one of the aging Baby Boomers, I know first hand how challenging it can be to reach out to the younger generations and glean their input, mostly because they are cautious of sharing too much unless they can trust you not to criticize or unduly comment. But if you’re not too scared of the honest feedback you’ll receive, I encourage you to talk to your son or daughter (or other younger relatives) and see what they think about things and how they feel about what is going on in the world. If you’re really up for an eye-opener, ask them what and how they would implement change(s).
Some actions to have completed (before you attempt “the talk”) are:
1. Ensure s/he knows you sincerely want to hear what he or she has to say.
2. Block out a large period of time on your calendar. Some for the talk, and some to bang your head against the wall, because, “Heck, why didn’t I think of that,” you’ll cry.
3. Have good note taking software ready, or at least a notepad and two ink pens.
4. Two-to-three hours of practice in asking an open-ended question and then zipping or buttoning your mouth (except for clarifying questions).
And then, go for it! Discover that treasure hidden in the most unlikely place – someone younger than you! The more you do it, the more you’ll enrich your life.
Lorraine Morgan Scott can be reached (to comment on this article or suggest a topic) via email [email protected] or on Facebook: Pep Talk Coaching and Publishing. She is a certified personal development coach, author (Loving Myself First: Overcoming Life’s Obstacles (Past, Present and Future), and singer. She’s reaching for her dreams while helping others do the same. Join her at the upcoming June event in Loon Lake called Romance on the Dance Floor: Celebrating Love and Commitment. See http://PepTalkCap.com for details.