The Generation Gap
Zubair Hamid Parray
We are living in a world which is characterized by change, vitality and spontaneity. Generally speaking, the change has been towards progress, but, has deteriorated many institutions and values. Change and progress have created certain problems that confront both the young and old. Old values stand at a discount, and new dues are accepted, though with reluctance. Social life has become complex and new social problems have cropped up. The change has been so rapid that many find themselves in a state of flux.
The head of the family who traditionally enjoyed importance at home, now finds that much of it has whittled away. He has to surrender to the views of others at home and has to bow before their attitudes and manners. Reason, he finds, has substituted, to a large extent, tradition and obligations. He can no longer impose his will on others and where conservatism has got the better of him, he feels dejected and ignored. This sense of loss of position and importance can have bad psychological consequences.
The old have to change their attitude towards jobs. They find that in the rat race, they have to learn and equip themselves with necessary skills if they want to compete. The experience that they have gained at a particular job can no longer be equated with security and promotion. They have to compete with those equipped with new knowledge and expertise.
The old have to accept the changed values, and values prescribe certain principles of personal and corporate conduct. As society changes, values change and thus changed values would imply changed morality. But one must hasten to add that the basic values of the present generation are not different from those of the earlier.
Corruption is not justified on the ground of changed values. But our attitude towards elders, jobs, the family etc. have change and the old find it difficult to accept them. With the disappearance of the extended family system, the old family ties an pre-eminence of the oldest members, the old are often left in the home of the aged. The old find it difficult to reconcile themselves to the situation. The old feel that the young do not understand or appreciate their value and attitudes.
Young people today experience problems which were unheard of before. They are often branded as a generation with no respect for anyone. The information they have gathered about the problems of growing up make them feel more about them and they demand sympathy and understanding.
To them the problems are genuine and the old ignore them. In their search for solace and comfort, they value the company of their peer-group more than the affection of parents which is often not demonstrated. They are often driven off their homes, often there develops a conflict at home, the parents enforcing discipline and the children asserting their independence.
The undue importance given to material wealth makes the parents search it at the expense of their parental obligations. Money becomes an obsession and the children are left uncared for. Parental attention and affection are important in developing well-adjusted individuals. Bereft of these, the children despair and are apt to develop anti-social habits. Parents desire their children to accomplish ambitions beyond their ability and when their attempts are thwarted both the parents and children feel frustrated.
We are living in a fast changing world. The developments in the last three decades or so have transformed traditional life patterns. The rapidity of this transformation requires man to be adaptable and this need for adaptation creates problems for both the old and the young.
(The author is an undergraduate student at degree college Sumbal)