Distance of Gradual Estrangement

As one gets older in life, there comes a time when a disconnect develops between one’s way of life and the practical realities of everyday life which encompasses one’s children who grow up in a completely different world altogether.

The disconnect permeates all across – in fact, all walks of life. Not just with one’s grown up children, but with other friends who are younger, with the society in general, with colleagues, et al. Managing this disconnect is crucial to maintaining one’s sanity and world view.

I have seen this happening over the years. I have witnessed happenings in some of my close friends’ lives. Surprisingly, there are a few folks who have managed the disconnect rather well, and maintained very close ties with the younger generation. But mostly, the younger generation views us as folks with conservative views on life and unable to change and adapt to a fast changing world. May be true but may not be true as well.

As I evaluate my own situation, it is patently clear that my advantages of being in the technology field are not adequate to take cover in camouflaging my world views and life assessments. Technology does not make one a modern whiz kid. One’s views and opinions are shaped over time (a rather long time !) and by enduring personal experiences. One determines the right course of action in one’s own life situation, based on past experiences and learning. Such execution may not prove adequate for resolving present day issues in younger lives. Counseling is not a help that the younger folks desire, and that too, from old fellas who are apparently out of touch with modern way of life and the realities of fast-paced relationships.

I disagree, but that does not matter !

I have often tended towards offering unsolicited advice, which I feel should be solicited in the first place by the children. How many folks in their lives can offer truly unbiased advice and counsel ? But their view seems to be that the advise is one-sided, and more based on my own life and experiences. They also point out that my own experiences in life have been changing rapidly as I moved to several places in the last 10 years or so. The question is not whether I can counsel, but if I have learnt myself from these latest experiences ?

Well, well, kids are always more intelligent than us, no doubt about it. They have insights which surprises me often. They have views formed early in life with relationship and technology underpinnings, which was not the case when I was their age.

So, what is my conclusion ?

Better leave decision making to the kids. Any unwarranted and unsolicited advice could just backfire and cause distress to oneself which can be avoided. Further, self decision making at an early age creates responsibility and, to a certain extent, accountability for their decisions, which cannot be anything but good.

So folks, take the pressure off, and let the younger generation find its own feet based on their own assessments. That is the way to go. It might cause some estrangement in the process, as you might feel excluded from their lives partially. But that might only be temporary.

Think about it more, and you would realize the criticality of this important development in our lives.


Vijay Srinivasan
27th September 2014


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