If we had the means to promote an intergenerational dialogue, what would we talk about?
I think we’d first have to acknowledge that:
• Neither generation has a lock on truth AND
• Neither of us knows more than the other.
While we may have a bit more experience in some areas, younger people know a lot more in others. I learned from my son that he knows a lot more than I do about modern philosophy, about dealing with uncertainty and about participating in online communities of interest. He has even had more experience than I have had with extremely stressful situations. I never had to deal with multiple friends dying of drugs or suicide, fear of Columbine-type shootings, or a pace of technology and social change that made everything obsolete before I even learned it.
I think an intergenerational dialogue would include conversations about life and our concerns. I think we could share our mutual experience and worldviews, perhaps even come to understand that age is not a divide so much as a perspective on life and that we have much to contribute to each other. I need to learn what my children already know, what they take for granted, for me to stay connected and involved in a relevant way. They need to learn from me how to keep participating and not get sucked into resignation should some of their dreams fail to materialize.
Together, we might even find a way for all of us to make a difference and participate in creating a world in which we all vote and take pride in what we are doing together….