It’s Complicated; but then again it’s NOT!
It’s Complicated; but then again it’s NOT! By JV Howard
There is undoubtedly a generational gap between the past generation (our parents or Silent generation) and the next generation (our kids or millennials) with us (baby boomers) – my peers and I – representing the bridge gap. The gap represent something of a grey area between when the baby Boomer generation created the internet and when the millennials created SixDegrees.com, which is said to be the first ever social media website.
The bridge gap - defined as a difference or disparity in attitudes, perceptions, character, or development, - is indispensable given the last generation custom to being hands on, face to face, along with human embrace. In contrast the next generation is accustomed to being hands off, on FaceTime or Facebook, and embracing virtual acceptance.
As we acknowledge the empirical evidence involving generational differences the onerous falls on us to balance our children – millennials - barometer for human relations.
Human relations begins with family and our parents were the gold standard - in most cases - of backbone and character; in the black community things were hard, scarce, and in many cases difficult.
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Article On It’s Complicated; But Then Again it’s NOT!, Continues Below...
Dinner was a mealtime gathering for everyone to attend, socializing in front of the TV facilitated discourse and family unity. And of course Dad arrival home restored order and respect for the real authority in your life.
The millennials side of the human relationship equation has an algorithm that eschews historical lessons and warnings. Essentially they are poor listeners with a short attention span... and lead us to believe we are being ignored and come across at times as privileged brats which doesn't go over well.
The privilege attitude is an emotional trigger to be avoided. The Silent generation – grandpa and grandma’s - experiences, struggles, and sacrifices, frequently discounted by our generation, defraud the millennials of life 101 teachings and coerce many to repeat the course – in life. Downloading the past generation lessons in life help navigate the current generation without having to use a GPS...
I know it's a lot to process; it’s complicated.
Togetherness obscures the mandatory interpersonal work that family dynamic dictate; the hierarchy is in place, authority understood, roles articulated, and do’s and don’t’s on the books. It’s the kind of work that is omitted as a priority today and get bluetooth to impersonal gadget, apparatus, or widget on screen after screen after screen.
Begging the questions; Are all these apps and gadgets “really” smart? Are we “really” touching anything on all these screens? Can we “really” store anything in the cloud other than prayer?
No - is the correct answer. Why? It's complicated.
Look - communicating virtually is cool, useful, and ubiquitous but we are not reaching them. In fact we – baby boomers – have bought into their virtual escape by telling ourselves we are working smarter.
In reality we have gone soft with our own need to learn the nuances of virtual living. As Bernie Mack said prior to his untimely passing “we are punk parents.”
We find it too taxing to threaten their virtual orientation – with everything. We become complicit knowing that the blue light could become a blinking red light if we don't engage them where they are rather than where we want them to be - with us - offline.
What do we do...we create cliché’s to hide our failure to confront an accelerating virtual world; like: “it is what it is”, or you guessed it, it’s complicated; and when things unquestionably exceed our tolerance we just say ‘whatever’. When overwhelmed and under duress in the face of virtual resistance each cliche segues - to circumvent responsibility - into one major cultural work around; “You got to do what you got do.”
Our generation is - steadfastly -proving unworthy of our mother’s milk and dishonoring our ancestor blood by denying tough love in favor of virtual comfort. The digital industry is likewise complicit.
It has detected an outreach vulnerability of the millennials and so developed apps like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp to facilitate their need for a virtual network of inclusion that gradually fuel YouTube aspirations. They seek a thousand likes for the two that go missing.
But these are software tools; the hardware component to put themselves out there - so to speak - is the selfie camera sending the message, some times virally,“hey look at my digital life”. With TLC (tender loving care) lacking a thumbs up becomes the virtual alternative substitute.
Some apps tell how much screen time while scientists tell how early you can give a child an iPad. Its an irresponsible handoff... making things woefully complicated.
Here’s why... In his powerful, practical book - Can you Hear Me, communication expert Nick Morgan outlines five big problems with communication in the virtual world—lack of feedback, lack of empathy, lack of control, lack of emotion, and lack of connection and commitment-sharply highlighting what is lost in our accelerating shift to a more virtual world.
Yet, while it is inherently systematic to download a new operating system to all these gadgets, it is a precarious proposition to reboot a personality without a lot of therapy and intervention... and we just don’t want to do it.
But our parents did from day one. Unfortunately there is no control-alt-delete where you get to refresh your default - life - settings.
With smartphones, apps, and subscription services, and of course google...you can’t google good parenting...you just can’t. So, if you substitute a vis-à-vis with facetime, it get complicated; if you replace human touch with virtual refrain it get problematic, and if you opt for the hands off approach you are buying the complication.
And it’s very expensive. Why? We are more connected than ever and, yet, more alone.
But it doesn’t have to be.
So, if we apply the human touch to the five problems of virtual communications: feedback, empathy, control, emotion, and connection and commitment- we can start to give humanity is due diligence in preparing the millennials for their role in dealing with generation X. Feedback like we received from the silent generation would allow a recalibration of the human element within a progressive virtual onslaught ...setting a parameter to deal with various fallouts like cyber bullying.
I know you say go easy on the kids; that they are resilient with tremendous upside. All true. We all know the world can be very unforgiving.
Meanwhile, hackers, Id thieves, sex traffickers, and cyberbullies lurk in the blue light coming from the upstairs bedroom. To protect them from the social and virtual ills of the red light district confront the blue light, disable the WiFi, and seize the initiative by knocking on the door and showing some love.
Mention the silent - baby boomer - millennials - and generation X as it may give perspective on how far the family has come and where it may be headed. It's your YouTube and Ted Talk moment and a possible breakthrough.
It's Not Complicated!
Martin Luther King reminds us the unexamined life is not worth living so it behooves us to examine our parental efficacy. If we are willing to die for them we should be willing to live for our kids not just be about them.
Consider the embrace you give you son or daughter amounting to a hug from their grandparent through you to your unborn grandchild through them. If you give them an ipad or a “whatever” response expect your unborn grandchild to get the same. It’s can be complicated to be human but more so to be a punk parent.
Does Father Knows Best; yes the almighty does...do right by them do right by him. A boots on the ground, for many, is Michelle and Barack Obama - there are others who get this right too - who exemplify the proverbial parental model, atypical or not, that sends a message the millennials understand - “ME TOO."
At the end of the day hack your life and show some love. ‘Its Complicated.’ but then again it's Not
Can You Hear Me Now?
The article ideas expressed are those of freelance commentator JV Howard and may not be totally reflective of Scoop publications. You can reach JV Howard at: email@example.com
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