And what is true for the family holds good at all levels of society.
One group’s enthusiasm for, and another’s resistance to, change is prevalent at all social strata and has a unifying effect among members of the group.
Over the years people have tried to analyse it, explain it, understand it, even ignore it, but it remains, ready to confront each generation as it tries to formulate its own perspectives about life and living.
A dictionary defines ‘generation’ as “all persons born about the same time” and also as the “average time in which children are ready to replace their parents-about 30 years.” This definition in itself contains the seeds of the rift, chasm, cleft, call it what we will, that translates into the generation gap.
The generation gap is another of those characteristic features that set Homo sapiens apart from other animals.
It is doubtful if ever the most intelligent of apes ever blamed its juniors for their wayward ways!During this period the adolescents strive to strike a balance between their innate personalities moulded by nature and nurture and outside dictates that demand conformity as a price for acceptance.It is this struggle within, coupled with a very strong desire for acceptance without, that prompts an outward show of ‘courage and defiance’. Lawrence has said, “We have to hate our immediate predecessors to get free of their authority.” With the onset of adulthood and maturity much of the restlessness and rebellion mellows and the individual learns to appreciate the need for both stability and change.It remains a case of “If Youth only knew and if Age only could”.The advertisement only hammers home the fact that that was then, and The gap between old people and young boys and girls is called the generation gap.A leading news Paper once launched a rather intelligent advertising campaign in which it pit its increasingly larger readership against that of a much older, traditional trusted name, and called the differences in their sales-the generation gap.Each successive generation has stuck out its tongue at the preceding one, just as the latter has struck its palm against the forehead, bemoaning the loss of morality and predicting dire reprisals.These influences do, of course, work on humankind but they have the greatest impact on that section of society which is on the threshold of discovery-discovery of the self, of life and of living.For someone who has already measured swords with life a characteristic lifestyle is already in place.In essence, therefore, the generation gap is a tug-o’war of change versus stability, new versus old, modern versus traditional.It does not have to become (and this is Important) a tug-o’-war of age versus youth.