Bridging the Gaps in Our Families

Have you ever been to a family event and seen the kids in one corner, the teenagers off on their phones SnapChatting away, the middle aged adults on Facebook on their phones and the elders are off in another corner dealing with their latest ailments or watching each generation doing different things? That’s all happening probably because each subgroup in the family probably feels like they can’t relate to another subgroup in the family. I want to discuss, how to bridge the gaps in our families, so that we keep our families not only connected in a physical space, but being more present in that moment.

If you’re just joining me here on my blogs, first of all welcome. I have been discussing all things about family this month. Make sure you go back and read my previous posts from this month to catch up.

I truly believe that we can all learn from each other no matter what age you are. For instance, in my family for example, I find that between myself, my mother and my daughter, sometimes I feel like I’m watching a ping pong game. Mainly because there’s some type of misunderstandings between us, at some points in our lives and it’s solely because of the age gaps between us. The conversations will usually go something like this:

My daughter: She asks for something elaborate (What is wrong with teenagers???? LOL… They always want something that costs a fortune).

My mother: Starts conversations with, “When I was your age….”

My daughter: After several of attempts of obtaining said elaborate item from her grandmother and her answer is “No”, my daughter texts me and asks me (given my age, she feels like I would be a great advocate for her to obtain said elaborate item she wants my mother to purchase).

Me: Looks at texts from both of them and answers 3 days later because that’s how I say “HELL NO” for said elaborate item via text.

My daughter: Don’t understand us no matter our age and has an attitude but eventually gets over it.

*Disclaimer: This is a typical conversation not an accurate account of events*

I find myself stuck in the middle and usually play the quiet role in the background because my patience is low with the back and forth conversations (read my blog post about family group texts). Not saying that that’s the correct way of doing things but I know families that have been torn apart because the family members couldn’t bridge their gaps. I don’t want that to happen to my family and I’m sure, if you’re reading this, you don’t want that to happen to your family as well.

Here’s some things that you and I can work on, to help us bridge the gaps in our families:

  • Play fun games that are age appropriate for everyone in the family.

  • Each family event, spend time with a different subgroup (i.e., one event, hang with the elders, another event, hang with the teenagers and learn how to SnapChat and so forth).

  • Visit with family members who you don’t usually talk to or see often. You can also include another family member of a different age to join you.

  • Listen to the elders in your family stories. Yes, all 5,000 of their stories. I promise you’ll learn something from their stories and one day, somebody in your family will have to listen to your stories when you become an elder, so be nice.

  • Assist an elderly family navigate through the world wide web. A lot of resources are available on the internet and a lot of our elderly family members don’t know how to use the internet or have mobility to get around to places that they could have easily accessed online. Each one, teach one.

What are some other ways that you can bridge the gaps in your family? Share your tips in the comments.

© 2018 by Kheiston Tilford. Kheiston Tilford Consulting and Services