Years ago, when teaching The Teen Sunday School Class in my church, I noted that while the adults were harping about “The Generation Gap” between them and their children, what I was observing was a Communication Gap.
It wasn’t that the teens were not thinking about the same issues that their parents did. And if you could get them to talk about those issues, you’d find they were not that far apart in their opinions concerning them. The problem was that the adults and the teens didn’t know how to discuss the issues.
The Generation Gap is what it always was: A Communication Gap.
It happens all the time — young people want to explore areas of thinking that adults have already addressed. Often those areas involve controversial subjects, so when the teen raises the issue, the adult goes off like he’s Bill O’Reilly. That’s not a generation gap. It’s a communication gap.
Now, take that reality — that young people are exploring subjects that adults have already formed their closed, strongly held opinions on — and add to it the words of Melissa Taylor here. What do you have? The potential for an emerging generation to find it twice as difficult to receive godly input from the previous one.
There are two roadblocks that cause this problem. First — it’s hard to listen to people as they explore ideologies that are, in the words of some in my generation, “stupid”. But you explored them yourself. If you didn’t, then you just blindly accepted someone else’s opinions about it, and how is that anything short of “stupid”? Second — it’s often simply a combination of close-mindedness and laziness that prevents my generation from adapting to new technologies. Pick up the keyboard and learn. It will do your brain good!
It is vitally important that, when a young person speaks to you concerning his or her belief system, you listen. Listen. Listen. Then carefully, respectfully, and logically offer your own perspective. And second, as Melissa Taylor notes, do it through a communication channel they can appreciate.