There is much to be gained from learning from other generations, be it understanding each other’s differences, embracing our commonalities and going beyond stereotypes to bridge the gaps between. When it comes to the older generation one’s longevity and life experience can often bring a reflective wisdom that is worth examination. A resilience exists, a steadfast courage in the face of hardship and survival; Be it living through war, economic depression, or the lack of medical and technological advancements that we have now. Hindsight also goes a long way in providing knowledge to present and future generations; Learning from the past and those who lived through it allows us to examine our historical and societal choices. In short, what paved the way for how we live now, what worked, and of course, what we can do better in contemporary times.
A life long-lived can also bring about a calm sagacity that can serve to enlighten and educate younger generations – a patient, methodical mindset that is often felt to be missing presently due to the fleeting nature of society & the rapid fire pace of social media. Also, with age often comes a letting go – a liberation from holding onto things as tightly as did in our youth; perhaps it is a relaxation of our reactions, or simply a deeper understanding of ourselves in all our complexities. It is also a time to truly reflect on one’s life and feel grateful for what we have in our lives, what we’ve learned, and the loved ones around us; And of course within this reflection there can be wonderful moments of teaching for the younger generations.
However, there is not just wisdom to be found within the older generation. Now more than ever, the younger generation is showing us that they too possess a wisdom and a proactive voice that should be listened to and celebrated for its fearless achievement. At the moment, it has never been more inspirational to watch the younger generation rise up and demand action, whether it be a youthful pioneer like Greta Thunberg, or as a powerful, unified collective fighting for equality and change. This youthful surge sends the formidable message that they are long past ignoring important issues. They want change and they will be the ones to bring it to the forefront – be it race relations, the environment, the LBGTQ movement, or pervasive violence in society. The younger generation is now galvanised and determined to show that they view the world in a different way.
This broader, more progressive viewpoint also embodies a realisation that what one does/thinks/eats has an impact on everything – that choices matter. From the planet, to our community, to an acceptance of our differences, the younger generation has embraced a conscious unity that has never felt more vibrant. With youth also comes hope – a promise and fearlessness that fuels every decision. Whether it is to protest for issues close to their hearts, wanting to right the wrongs of preceding generations, being more open-minded to one’s sexuality, or more mindful in their life choices, the younger generation is keen to take action and express themselves like never before.
It is also important to take heed of what the very young can teach us, the generation that has just sprung forth into this ever-changing world. As adults, watching a toddler or young child embrace the world is the best education we could ask for – their joyousness, curiosity of everything around them, and their sheer embrace of play in all its forms. It is a time long
before judgement, fear, and non-acceptance has set in. If you watch a group of young children play, there is no such thing as a dislike or judgement of differences. For children, the world just is – filled with emotion, vibrancy, nature and celebration. It is an innocent time that is always there to remind us that there is a child in each and every one of us, and it would behove us to tap into that childlike mindset whenever we can. So young or old, there is always wisdom to embrace. As our founder emphatically says, “in life, the school of learning should always be in session!”