By Chheng Sotharath
Disagreements between young and old people happen because of their different perspectives of viewing the world. What each person experiences through their own life journey influences their perspective. That’s why people from the new generation often think differently from the old generation: because the world remains in a continuous motion of change. What used to happen regularly in the past might change its trend as time passes by. The whole world doesn’t stay the same. Everything has to keep moving .
This could be seen like the yin and yang. Although very different, they are both needed and relevant. The old and experienced represent custom and tradition lending stability to the societal order, while the young represent freedom and creativity lending to newer applications, or innovation. Both yin and yang complement each other blending freedom with stability, and no society can do without the other.
However, people of old generation mostly don’t accept new trends, and those of the new generation, ignore the fact that the elders are more experienced and more mature in solving problems. Most of the time, old people see young people as inexperienced and immature, and young people underestimate the experience that their elders have. These conflicting opinions occur not only among families but also at the workplace.
For example, in the family, the elders may want to interfere in the personal life of the young generation as they are afraid that their offspring may make reckless or inappropriate life decisions in aspects of marriage, academic choices, friendship, expenditures and so on. In their mind, young people are inexperienced and naive. But from the young people’s perspective, they think their elders are too traditional, out of style and outdated, and ignore the fact that their elders actually have more experiences in life and can be good advisers for the young people.
The same applies to workplaces. The seniors may underestimate the ability of their juniors as they are new to the work or the profession. And those junior sometimes see their elders as outmoded as they tend to stick to the traditional or old way of thinking and working.
As a matter of fact, both generations have their own strengths and weaknesses. The old generations have experiences that can be a good source to share with the new generations, while the new generations possess new ideas with quick ways of how to complete the tasks which is also a good source to share with the old generations. Therefore, the old and the young should put their pride aside and try to understand each other and accept their own weaknesses. Youth can actually bridge the gap between the two generations by talking with each other, sharing ideas, exchanging knowledge with one another and accepting their own flaws in order to further develop their own selves. Two is better than one. The old and the young are like yin and yang, complementing each other with their contrary or opposite way of thinking.
Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.