Learning how to bridge the generation gap

I had the distinct pleasure of being in the company of six people belonging to the future generation of men and women this weekend.

I had the distinct pleasure of being in the company of six people belonging to the future generation of men and women this weekend.

It was fun, educational and a perfect opportunity to bridge that formidable generation gap that blocks the potential for perfect (well, almost perfect) relationships to exist between the generations.

“It’s so rad, grandma,” says my granddaughter, referring to the TV show, Doctor Who! “I look at her blankly. “It is?” I say, trying to sound all hip and cool and un-grandma like.

She is 12. Her sweet little pre-teen self seems temporarily suspended in the never never land that exists somewhere between childhood innocence and the shroud of wisdom teenagers automatically cloak themselves with when they become of age.

“Rad,” I mutter. It’s rad. I’m rad. Rad is a cool word. No, don’t use cool, I chastise myself. “Cool is not a rad word.”

I move on. The next child, a year younger, questioned me and his father’s stance that he needed to take his very rad baseball hat off while we were eating breakfast at a nearby restaurant.

“Why doesn’t mom have to take her hat off, grandma?” he said. “I look helplessly at my daughter who had plopped on a baseball hat to hide her ‘bed head’ look.

I thought back to the array of ‘fascinators’ I saw in a store recently, and had to silently agree that ladies should be allowed to keep their head gear intact.

I pursued my lips and gave him my best grandma stare and said, “take your hat off! Your dad said so!”

Suddenly, without warning the generation gap jumped up in front of me, but it didn’t matter.

Sometimes, such gaps are necessary!

“I’m glad you are being taught proper etiquette at the table,” I said, somewhat primly. “It’s very rad,” I added weakly, as an afterthought!

Three boys (soon to be men of the future generation) claimed my attention next.

From them I learned Ninja turtles really do live in manholes. I also learned one should never be too busy to stop and listen to the delicious sound of water running in ditches and through culverts. It signals the coming of spring just like the occasional green sprout of grass and the song of a robin.

The boys also reminded me that the sound of a child’s laughter far outweighs the satisfaction of a clean house.

I also learned, in the few hours I had the children, a baby, crawling on his hands and knees towards the stairs, is quicker than greased lightning and twice as dangerous.

My final lesson came from another grandchild who reminded me, once again, of the power of kindness.

When I arrived downstairs and entered her mom’s spotless kitchen, I discovered a bowl laid out for my cereal, a carton of juice and a bowl of fresh fruit along with a note, “Here is your breakfast, grandma. Have a nice day.” She had added a hastily drawn picture of a flower.

I read the note and the generation gap closed up once again.

There is a lot wrong with the world; unrest is continual and unsettling, political battles continue to rage and the price of oil has dropped again.

But, somewhere amidst all of that, like the eye of the storm, there still exist a few things that really matter.

Good table manners, politeness, kindness, imagination and laughter that bubbles out of nowhere like running water in spring.

I feel fortunate to have been so lucky to have experienced all of the above thanks to the future generation.

It’s very rad!