Bridging the generation Gap part II took place on Saturday 16th of October in the ICCI events hall, as part of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown 2021 Festival of Inclusion. There was a good turnout of junior and senior community members. Sheikh Mostafa Hegazy opened the event with a beautiful and very fitting recitation of verses from Surah (chapter 31) Luqman, from the Holy Qur’an, starting at ayah (verse) 12 that begins the story of the wise Luqman and his advice to his son. Sr Summayah from the ICCI community welfare department then welcomed everyone and gave a small synopsis of the 2019 event before passing to Sr Ryma who chaired the rest of the event. Sr Ryma, Sheikh Mostafa and Br Omar each gave a few minutes to talk about their experiences from the perspective of being a son, daughter or father and their experiences and thoughts on the generation gap from their own lives. Attendees were asked to write down what thoughts or words came to mind when they hear the phrase “generation gap”, and they were invited to stick these up on the burning wall to further the discussion. The floor was opened up and views and thoughts were shared. It was a very interesting discussion and food for thought for a follow up event(s).
For those who missed out, here are some of the opinions that were shared by the attendees during the afternoon’s discussion:
- First generation immigrant parents tend to be stricter on their first born and then as the years go on they become more comfortable in their parenting style with the later siblings. Older children may feel under pressure to be more academic and successful in their studies.
- Colleges now are different to the parent’s generation with clubs and societies for recreation, which parents may not understand the need for, as they may see it as taking time away from focusing on studies.
- The importance of parents establishing a relationship early with their children, spending quality time with them, playing with them, having good communication and showing them where it is they come from both culturally and religiously.
- The importance of parents showing their children by their actions both inside and outside the home, to have respect and good character and to be hard workers in helping others and having a good input into society.
- The generation gap does not just present itself starting in the teenage years but from as early as the ages of 6/7. Parents need to stay present and be fully participating in their child’s life because if children start to hide things from their parents at this age, then it will just get worse as they get older. Trust needs to be built from early on.
- The importance of mentorship, how the different age brackets can mentor those below them in age (young, youth, young adult and older adult) as they will have experiences to share.
- Times are changing very quickly. Children are born and being brought up in a different environment to parents. Important to share thoughts with the children so that they feel comfortable to also share with their parents.
- The speed at which change is taking place at all levels is very fast and this makes the gap wider. The younger generation is having to adapt a lot faster and the older generation is finding it harder to adapt to this speed of change.
- The older generation need to keep up to date and learn to speak the language of the youth, so to be aware of the technology they are using and be able to use it also.
- Gap can also come from mixed families, either cultural, religious or educational.
- Social media was mentioned quite a lot. It can be of benefit but also a burden when overused or used incorrectly. Youth may see it as a potential to building up experience from the information that they are getting from it. This can bring out an arrogance making them think that they know everything and that they have no need from the experiences of their parents or elders. A lovely example was given by one of the youths saying that if we look at universities and the papers or projects that students have to partake in, they must cite their sources from the information and knowledge that came before. So, in other words: “All generations need each other”
Thank you to everyone who attended this event and filled in the feedback forms at the end. We appreciate the feedback and the suggestions that were made for ideas for future events on the back of the discussions from “Bridging the Generation Gap”