Generation Gap Can be Filled By Great Stories
The complaint is eternal – children think their parents are old fashioned and parents think their children are shameless. And when it comes to grandparents and older generations, this complaint is magnified exponentially. So what is the remedy? Is it true that generation gap can be filled by great stories? How can this gap be bridged? Is it even possible to bridge it?
Yes, it is. Stories can bridge this gap. India has a huge tradition of oral narratives. Early Hindu religious and philosophical texts, and even documents of learning passed from one generation to other by word of mouth. Our major epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata were also oral for a long time. This served a twofold purpose. First of all, the conveyance of knowledge from one generation to another cemented conversation between the generations. This healthy interaction kept relationships happy and fulfilled because the generations got to know how the other thinks and feels, and where that comes from. Apart from this, the younger generations had a healthy respect and dignity for older learning. And the older generation understood responses and reasonings behind the, of the younger generation.
A more prime example of this can be seen in the case of children’s books that travel through time, staying evergreen as ever. Even as parents pick and choose their own childhood favourites for their children, children respond to stories in their own way. This creates an unbreakable bond between the parent and child. Apart from this, the parents rediscover the meaning of books themselves, which allows them to live them anew. This time, they look at it from a fresh perspective, newer to the times.
Plus books are mementos. Books are photo frames of sorts. They capture the zeitgeist of a time and keep it safe for eternity. Thus classics and books written ages ago act as a pause button of sorts. Basically, it makes people nostalgic for a particular period. Books of historical fiction, or non-fiction for that matter, when gifted to children, allow them to understand the complexities of time. This lets them travel back in time and understand where the older generation is coming from. It makes them think about parents and grandparents not as individuals but as products of the time they’re living in.
The converse is also true. When the older generation reads books by younger authors from recent times , they understand the problems and backstories of the younger generation. They get to know exactly what is going on in the world and how that affects the current generation. A world of possibilities opens up for them. Exposure to current movements such as the Black Lives Matter, or the LGBTQA movement may even change their thoughts about certain sections of people. Thus, they may just become less homophobic or racist. Books can thus play an important role in changing people’s ideologies to create harmony and foster a mutual understanding of sorts.
Now, illustrated books have been replaced by videos, films and video games. But an early introduction of books to children by way of children’s books offers a variety of detail and may sensitize children to the advantages that books offer. This gives them a headstart and also gives them and understanding of the old world.
Ultimately books are an easy solution to bridging the generation gap. They wont make it go away entirely but will reduce it considerably for sure. Thus, gifting books to children, parents, grandparents and pretty much everyone is a great way to ensure they understand your perspective on life. Generation gaps are complex – they arise from the fact that people live through different times and hence circumstances. But an understanding of those times and circumstances through books may reduce them.
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