‘Mom, why do you always see the negative side of reality?’ asked her daughter Tina. ‘What negative side are you talking of’, asks Mom? ‘Why do you always look at the bad side of things and go on ranting?’ Tina says again. ‘You went on yesterday about the golden times of yesterday and the horrible times of today’, explains Tina. ‘You went on and on about how children respected their parents and cared for the old and today’s kids don’t as if today’s kids are monsters.’
‘What is this fashion about positive and negative statements all the time,’ shouted Mom. ‘In all channels too they keep harping on the negative and positive. We never heard of such words before. What was fact was a fact,’ said Mom with finality.
‘But mom this is the greatest revolution in the field of psychology discovered by William James, that the thought can be changed by human will,’ tried explaining Tina. ‘You see in the ancient times it was thought that what was thought was final. That was it. But now this discovery created a storm and created whole new theories of psychotherapy. That is how powerful the human thought is they say.’
‘What’s new about that,’ enquired mom? ‘We were always told to think good thoughts and never allow bad thoughts in our mind. That is not the case now. Minds have been polluted too much’, she sighed.
‘There is a great difference Mom between the two- one says think good thoughts and the other says change the thought to positive,’ said Tina.
‘This positive negative emphasis is too much and useless,’ she repeated. ‘I don’t understand it and it has no sense in it.’
Trying to explain her point Tina said, ‘you see when you have a restless mind and a disturbed mind you get all sorts of nightmares and bad dreams at night. Why does this happen? Because your mind has hidden fears and uncertainties and they come up during sleep. Now if you fill your mind with good thoughts and good images you will not get bad dreams and your fears will not come up.’
‘Does it mean that I cannot discuss my issues and you won’t listen to them? If there are doubts in mind I can talk about them. Why should you stop me from doing so she stated.’
She always had a point to make to shut you up. But Tina was not giving up either. She realised that her thoughts would always clash with those of her darling mother. She knew that her mother was a good person and had all good intentions for her children but what troubled her many times was the difficulty in getting across to her with her ideas. It was frustrating at most times because it created a wide gap which could not be bridged which made her unhappy. She wished there was some way to cross the bridge peacefully. Her mother was an intelligent and spiritual person but never superstitious. She could see reason in many old rituals and laugh at the illogical fallacies and question them too but at heart she was a conformist and not a rebel. She would soon fall in line to traditions and customs. She never had the heart to be rude and disrespectful of traditions. That is where the whole crux lies thought Tina innocently.
Today’s youth would love to rebel and throw off the yoke of senseless and useless customs and put their enjoyment in priority. They were ready to explore, experiment and experience but not her mom’s generation. They would eventually toe the line set up by their elders and fear rebellion whether it was out of respect or cowardice she was not sure. It could be a mixture of both. She could not understand the unconditional love her mom had for her parents and elders in her family. Today’s youth questioned everyone and everything and did not bother for age or elderly persons. The elderly too had to prove themselves on the scale of reason and if they did not answer properly they were written off as ‘old and traditional’ which meant ‘not very worthy of respect’ but ‘let us tolerate them somehow’.
The generation gap was evident. And it would always be there for there is no progress without change. And change we must for that is the only constant as they say. Beliefs systems have changed, the values and principles of personal morality have changed, cultural and behaviour patterns have changed and even life styles have changed. But every change and everything new was not necessarily good and nice but inevitable.
Questioning everything for the ‘sake of reason’ was a waste of time which served no purpose ultimately. For example, questioning the love of your parents, questioning their beliefs systems, their cultural practices, questioning their past decisions and mistakes made, for the sake of arguments and for the sake of denigrating them seemed not only futile but also offensive. Accepting them for what they are and what they have done for you, seems to be more respectful and appropriate. Talking to them regularly rather than writing them off and making them ‘see’ your point of view would be more appropriate. Communication in a positive sense would be a better way to make them realise that you ‘beg to differ’ and ‘agree to disagree’. This could be the best way to ‘bridge the gap’.