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Families need to communicate

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Andy and Renie Bowman

By Dr. Andy and Renie Bowman

Generation Z. Young adults that older generations have a difficult time understanding. And a generation that, in turn, holds a lot of contempt for the lifestyles of generations before them. 

Boomers, as a whole, see adulthood as something that should be lived from this perspective: Education, Work, and Retire to do what you always wanted to do. Death. 

But Gen. Z’ers? From what I can understand, they see it more like this: Work just enough to be able to live life doing the things that you find pleasurable at the beginning of adulthood, then settle down and work – after you have enjoyed the energy and adventures of your youth.

Hmm. As a non-Z, I’ve never thought of life this way. Honestly, I struggle to find the positive points of it. But then again – yours truly is not a Z-er. Probably need to spend some time listening to those young people who believe this to be a viable way of living life. Ask them some intelligent questions. Listen with an open heart. Not just listen enough to jump in and criticize what they are saying.

Now, I am not advocating any certain lifestyle. On the contrary, I am advocating real communication. Boomers, LISTEN to them before TALKING at them. And if there are any Zers reading this, I beg the same of you. There has never been a generation that cannot learn from generations before, and the generations after them. Anything less than this is called arrogance, in my book. 

Families are being fractured by non-communication. The younger feels that the older is too stuffy, too focused on financial success, letting the true meaning and enjoyment of life escape them. The older folks are convinced that young people have become parasites, living off others and refusing to take financial responsibility for themselves. Let alone preparing themselves for being the leaders of our country when their parents retire. The result of this impasse is a country suffering from a growing split between the generations.

People, we have enough problems in this country, with crime, immorality, greed and enormous financial issues escalating at an unseen-before rate. We certainly do not need our greatest strength, the family unit – to be destroyed this way.  

If we lose our families by miscommunication, we lose more than we can possibly comprehend – until your family experiences it personally. And then that newly found wisdom comes way too late.

Invite that person, old or young, to supper. Tell them that you realize that you need to listen to them. Tell them you want to simply ask questions – that you want to hear their point of view. If you find them open to this and willing to talk to you, then do exactly that. Listen. Try to glean what you can from listening to what they have to say. You are not deaf, nor are you too slow to learn. Then thank them for sharing their point of view.

Work at communicating. Hopefully, your turn to talk will come later.

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