Change is the law of nature. There has to be and will always be some kind of difference between two generations. The generation gap is a universal phenomenon and is not peculiar to our country alone. The old order changes yielding place to new lest one good custom should corrupt the world. Everything is subject to change. Man’s attitude, his thinking habits, eating and drinking habits and even fashions in dress change. Nothing remains static in a society. Ezra Pound rightly remarked
“Go to the adolescents who are smothered in family
Oh how hideous it is
Those three generations of one house gathered together
It is like an old tree with shoots
And with some branches rotted and falling.”
These days, the generation gap is getting wider, especially in richer countries where parents are unable to look after their children because of preoccupations and several business activities. As a result, children are neglected. For want of proper parental care and affection, children go astray. An adolescent cannot tolerate parental indifference. Adolescents become rebellious and say good-bye to the established order. They seek refuge in many illegal and destructive things in which they lose their precious lives.
In Pakistan, parents are, by and large, authoritative and foist their views and opinions on their children, in matters of education, choice of profession, choice of a marriage partner and so on. The children feel that their parents are tyrannical in these matters. Parents think that they are the best judges while choosing their sons-in-law or daughter-in-law. If children try to assert their own choice in the matter of a life partner or in the choice of a profession, they are branded as rebels.
The young people feel that their parents are unreasonable and orthodox. The son wants to be an engineer or an MBA but the father insists that the son should compete for the CSS and other competitive examinations, Parents, sometimes, do not care about the children’s choice and idealism. The break-up of the joint family system is closely related to the question of the generation gap. Young people find it difficult to stay with old fogies who have orthodox, hide-bound views. Generation gap can be bridged if the elderly people treat the young with sympathy and understanding. They should be willing to accommodate the viewpoint of the younger generation. The elder generation is supposed to be mature, far-sighted and experienced whereas the young people are ignorant, rash, impetuous and defiant. The elders should, therefore, adopt a reasonable attitude. Instead of dubbing the youngster’s attitude as rebellious and heretic, they should try to tackle them in a friendly way.
The relationship between the old and the young generations should be the host-guest relationship. If this relationship is observed, the generation gap can be bridged to a great extent.