There seems to be a disparity between the younger and older generations. If closely examined, there are issues of respect and understanding. If you’re wondering who these “Gen Z” people are that everyone keeps mentioning, they’re people born between 1997 and 2012.
Don’t we all have that one person that insists we call everyone older than us Uncle or Aunty, even when we have learned those titles are for our relatives? If you are already shaking your head, probably in disbelief, just hold on for a bit; you might learn or unlearn. I know what you can see seated where you are I can’t see from behind my keyboards, or if I climb an iroko tree. If you are excited and ready to take this to that one person mentioned earlier, you have a thing or two to learn and unlearn.
Respect is ingrained in our society and culture, and it is, to be honest, essential. We watch movies and see children talk back arrogantly to their elders or parents. We don’t like that; we hate it just as much. The issue is, why is calling Uncle Peter Mr Peter disrespectful (we are not even related)? The younger generation is not disrespectful when they call people by their first names without the Uncle and Aunty tag. I noticed the younger generation does not mind using titles, but they must be earned by the older generation. This brings us to the first distinction between the older and younger generations: the older generation respects everyone who shares their worldview, not just those who have earned it. The younger generation would comfortably call a stranger who gains their respect Uncle or Aunty as a way to show respect.
I asked a couple of Gen Zs, what is the one thing the older generation does that you don’t like? “They judge a book by its cover, and it turns out that they aren’t always right,” says Frank. Where is the lie in that? The older generation tends to judge people without difficulty: the yahoo boys in dreads, the madman in crazy jeans, and the prostitutes in clothes deemed too short. Does that sound familiar? This type of ideology drives a wedge between different generations and has brought unnecessary stereotypes that we can simply do without.
“There is always a bad egg in every crowd.” Not everyone with dreadlocks or a tattoo is badly behaved or a juvenile delinquent.
“They always think they are right in all situations,” says Onyeka and Tracy.
This one is tricky as it brings up an earlier proverb: “What an old man can see while sitting, a young man cannot see while standing.” We know! That does not mean you are always right or understand what we are going through. Our voices simply want to be heard, and our opinions should be valued. We could be wrong, but please hear us out and think about it. There is much to be learned, and the younger generation seems too naive and has a “know it all” attitude. Perhaps, if the young and old listened to each other, things would be better. “Tell me, and I will forget. Teach me, and I will remember. Involve me, and I will learn. ”
“They believe their generation worked harder than ours,” says Christopher.
I get it, “Indomie generation,” right? There is a belief that the younger generation is getting things done effortlessly and that they are mainly lazy. They don’t want to work nine to five, don’t want to study in libraries, don’t want hard copies, and all they want to do is Japa. The younger generation undoubtedly consider all this, but they don’t find things as easy as it seems. Some would argue that the older generation had it easier. The younger generation is dealing with a mishmash system created by the older generation. In all honesty, the younger generation shouldn’t have to work as much (I know, right?) If the system works properly, it should make things easier for the next generation. Rather than hating Gen Z, be proud that your work made things easier for them (if they did). To Gen Z, “the right attitude to work never kills.”
“Someone can’t talk back when they are talking; if I don’t talk, I am being disrespectful; if I talk back, I am rude,” says Alpha.
Having conversations across generations tends to be tricky, as there is always a hidden concern about what topics are okay, at what point it would be disrespectful, and whether you can openly talk about particular issues. Parents do not converse as much as required with their children, and expect to have long hearty conversations when the child is older; it doesn’t work like that. So, when your Gen Z child talks less with you and almost always with his friends, he is not being disrespectful; the foundation just isn’t there. Correcting the “elders” seems to create a rift, as the older generation wants you to listen and not reply. It does not matter if you are right or wrong; don’t explain yourself, just listen. It is essential to know that the younger generation are humans, too. They feel the need to be heard and respected, too. When a younger person talks back, don’t simply label them rude; they just want to be heard. However, if you are sure they are rude, don’t spare the rod (now I am talking, right?)
“They act like they are saints,” says Miriam.
Ahh! We know human beings are not perfect, but people from the older generation are perfect, except for those wey don cast. “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself. ” The younger generation understands this and, frankly, don’t want to make the same mistakes. Share your experiences with the younger generation so they can learn, and not lord it over them, and, in some cases, they might learn from their own mistakes.
“The way they keep trying to tell us (some of them anyway) that our votes don’t count when we know they do, it is just that they had this period of political laxity that got us where we are, ” says Ife.
The younger generation now, more than ever, wants to be in the political scene. If clear opportunities are not given, at least let their voices be heard. So, why not join them and show more support rather than shut them up? We are ready!
It is always best to hear it from the horse’s mouth. Co-existence between the younger and older generations is achievable if both parties are willing to learn, unlearn, listen, and understand each other. We love using our smartphones; we are not lazy if we look for more comfortable alternatives to things (legally). There is a saying, “work smarter, not harder.” This is the motto of the younger generation. We are more aware. We do not accept excuses for bad parenting. There is so much of our history in the past. We would love to hear from you. Judge us less harshly.