Learn How to Communicate With the Younger Generation

Nov 15th, 2008 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Before I became a senior citizen, I thought I was keeping up fairly well. After retirement, I began reflecting on how few actors and singers and other popular icons I knew by name any longer. I also became aware that I had allowed technology to outrun me. When observing video games, I remembered how much fun PONG used to be. Magazines became suddenly overrun by teen driven products and jargon and styles.

The sad part of all of this was that I was failing to learn the language my son and my grandchildren were speaking. And, when you don’t know or can’t speak the language, communication becomes severely limited. The good news was, in my case, that the younger ones are and remain very tolerant of their dad and granddad. But, with my own inabilities I still suffer some inferiority in trying to stay current.

Perhaps, some of my own experiences will speak to yours:

*Whatever you do, don’t try to fake it. You will get caught every time. They can sort out sincerity and honesty very quickly. They had rather respect you than for you to think you are cool.

*Spend as much time with them as you can. That is a tall order. The “children” (and don’t ever call them that) in your life have overwhelming demands, but they will always find joy in having time with you. So, work at making it happen.

*Communicate by phone and email. Not easy, because of distractions, but give it a try and don’t give up.

*When together, give up your own need to dominate the conversation and the directions it takes. Ask questions, seek explanations out of their experience and from their world.

*Avoid being judgmental. This is probably the toughest task of all. It is also the one that will earn the most respect and camaraderie. I wish I had learned this one at age 25.

*Be sure to find out what their interests are, what turns them on, what dimensions of life and the universe they live in gives them the most satisfaction.

*Be sure to demonstrate interest. Don’t feign interest, be interested!

*When possible, and invited, include their friends, so that you can learn by observation and participation what their life is all about.

*Don’t be easily offended. You will only lose.

*Check your embarrassment quotient at the door.

Finally, be sure you let them know how special it is to be with them and to learn from them. They will want to be with you more! You both win!

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