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Old vs. Young

Parents say they don’t understand children because they’re rebellious, and in turn, children say they don’t understand parents because they are too old and outdated. Who’s right? What’s the problem? I ‘ve also heard some people say: “Young people don’t know anything about this world; they are lost in technology and social media. In my time, we used to live outdoors playing face to face; those were the good old days. ” Others say, “We actually respected our parents, and when we didn’t, things would turn grim really fast. Today, young people do whatever they want and nobody can tell them anything ” Comments are very polarized on this topic, but the reality is different. The problem is beyond the “age gap” or comparing how things were done years ago. The problem lies in people’s mentality, culture and paradigms.

It’s likely that, if you are an adult with young children and you are reading this article, you’re thinking: “Exactly! The mentality, culture and paradigms of the new generation…” But shockingly it’s totally the opposite. It’s worth clarifying that at the time of writing this article, I am 63 years old, and nevertheless, I sustain that the problem lies on us, the old ones, the parents, the generation that’s on its way out. It is us, the elders, who do NOT understand the new generation and who create the generational problem. It’s us with our obsolete way of thinking, ultra conservative mentality in terms of culture and old paradigms that no longer work in this new world. We’re the ones who have stayed behind, we’ve gone out of style. We tend to romanticize the past and forget who we were at the time and who we are now. We forget that we were also rebellious towards our parents and they didn’t understand us; they didn’t believe in our new ideas. Nevertheless, we have become old and we judge youth exactly as our parents did in their time.

In our youth, we moved to the rhythm of the world, but at some point, we got off at “Pleasant Memories Station” and we anchored down thinking that what once was, will always be the best. We froze in time. The problem is that now, even though we may be in the same space we are definitely not in the same time. We may have educated our children with our young and fresh mentality, but as the years went by we began to grow old, to leave youth behind as if we were in queue to live old age. That is our mentality, our culture, and our paradigm. This is what we learned from our parents, because they did the same.

At some point the train of life was moving too fast for us; it seemed as if it was going in the wrong direction and that it shook too much. It seemed as though it was about to derail, so we decided to step off. We thought to ourselves: “I am no longer fit for this craziness and these adventures. I need to settle down and be serious about life.” What happened? Why did we decide to look to the future without hope? Why do we fear what is to come? Why are we afraid of what young people are creating, thinking or doing? The harsh reality is that we wrongfully learned to think that we are already old, that we have already entered another stage of our lives in which it is important to sit down and rest, that we have traveled the path of life and that now we have to wait for our death, that approaches slowly, or for others, rather quickly.

You can look at yourself in the mirror and see your old image, out of sync with time, out of fashion. You stayed behind. Your clothes are those of a young man of a past generation. Look at your entire body, your muscles, waist, haircut, hairstyle and everything in your house. Are you still writing on paper? What phone do you use? Do you not have a computer? Do you not understand how Google Maps works, so you have to ask for old-fashioned directions on how to get to an address? Are you still boring people to death with your obsolete and fundamentalist talks, or with your old stories that your friends, wife and children have heard for decades and, of course, are no longer interesting to them anymore? Are you still telling those jokes that only make you laugh? Are you still defending “good music,” referring to the music from your youth?

Why would children have to live with someone who lives in obsolete times, in another world, who has been anchored to the past? A young person would never do that, because for them, life is in the present and in the future. It is only for the old ones that life has passed and is behind us. Obviously, it is not attractive for us to accept this idea of living in the present and in the future because it would mean we have to put in work. We’ve become lazy, lazy to learn, lazy to remain leaders, lazy to stay in good shape and keep a healthy mental condition, lazy to make the necessary diets for our body and mind, lazy to change and adapt!

It’s very likely that you disagree with me and are justifying your decision to be the way you are, but honestly, it’s not worth dying old. There’s no need to do so! I have good news, though. There’s a way out for you who one day decided to be old. You can stop being old! There’s hope for you whom his children abandoned. Maybe you lost them or they just don’t want to see you anymore, and you feel as if they had died, or perhaps feel that you are dead to them. For you, this journey might feel like an uphill battle, but rest assured, it will yield very good results.

There is nothing more beautiful for a daughter or a son than to see their parents recognize their mistakes. That makes them feel that you are a person who they can trust, a parent who they can respect and honor. Recognizing your mistakes does not make you weak; it makes you stronger. Young people, from any generation, love honesty, transparency, sincerity, humility and simplicity, even more so if displayed by their parents. Unfortunately, these are virtues that few parents exercise.

Parents, you have to travel forward to this world, today’s world, and realize that this world is a better one than the one you live in. This world is a one that you have to live in as well. Parents, you have to approach your children and ask them for forgiveness, because you haven’t been in the present world with them, because you stepped off. You were not able to enjoy the journey along with them in the world where you both coexist. You didn’t live in it, you didn’t get to know it and you weren’t interested. You ignored that world, which, after all, like it or not, is your world too. This is a changing world that brings new lessons, new ideas, new concepts, new technology, new politics and even new religion.

In order to have a good relationship with your children you need to learn their language. They learned the current language, yet you still speak only the language of your time. They don’t have to learn yours because it has already passed and is no longer relevant. Even their language will soon be obsolete as well, and they will have to update themselves. So, what better than if they learned from you how to adapt and be flexible. Don’t you think it would be a great idea for you to teach the new generations one of the most important lessons: The lesson of being highly adaptable and being ready for change, which in the end, is the only constant in life. Don’t forget that, as of today, the language being used by the new generations is the only one in effect and it’s the “official” language of this world. That language comes with a new mentality, a new culture and new paradigms. Are you afraid of that language? Do you not believe in it? Do you want your language to prevail in the current times? This has never happened and never will. As I said before, laziness takes hold of those of us who grow old and no longer want to learn.

If you feel old but you really want to live youthfully again, you must update yourself. You must live up to the mindset of those who live in the current world, which is faster, more effective, and without a doubt (though it may be hard to acknowledge) better in every way than the one you lived in many years ago.

Little by little, you can now reach out to your children, to the younger generations, if you love them. You can live in this world again, the current one, a better one. You will rejuvenate by time traveling to the future were the youth live. You will be able to understand them, walk with them, guide them and help them in the journey that life is. They will embrace you with open arms. Go ahead, become a wise young man. Don’t die of old age! It is better to die a young person with many years of age.


Author yecidbenavides

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