“On generational give and take”
Two words that both captured and ignited the perceived conflict between generations. Boomers have wrecked the world, Millennials are entitled snow- flakes, Gen Z are the hope for the future, and wait… who are Gen X again?
We’re not going to get anywhere, generations are at war!
What happens, though, when we take a step back, put down our pitch- forks, and engage with the world—and people—around us? If we take the time to connect, we find there is a common thread, a fabric or weaving/ raranga, that wends its way through all of us. From the Silent Generation to Generation Alpha, we are all connected, we are all dependent on each other. No generation exists apart from the others—there are no self-sustaining islands—and no generation can do it all. We discover that we need each other. There is great beauty in that.
Among the articles in this year’s edition of Flint & Steel we engage in conversations that are being overlooked in the war of words. We are confronted with the difficulties of generational leadership change. We wrestle with the challenge of bi-cultural education, and embrace the riches of whakapapa. We get a glimpse into a frontline of possible conflict—the intergenerational home.
My hope is that as you read through this year’s edition of Flint & Steel, you’ll see past superficial disputes. You will reach across the chasm of the years, and realise the generational divide isn’t as wide as advertised, nor as shattering. You will be encouraged.
The give and take of the different generations is not about who’s right and who’s wrong, it’s about the future of our nation, and our world. Change needn’t occur just for the sake of it, or to be different from those who came before us. Growing up requires give and take. Each of us stands on the shoulders of the generations before, and is connected to the generations that will follow. There is a deep, weighty responsibility in that knowledge, and with it, a promise to devote ourselves to the communities, institutions, and people around us.
So let’s agree there is more riding on all of this than the ability to respond with a pithy dismissal of those on either side of our generational divides. Let’s take up the challenge, and see how much the generations are a fabric that cannot be separated; rather than rend, let’s mend.
Jason Heale – Editor