It would seem that over the past half century there was something happening – or more accurately, not happening – that has had a huge impact on the current society today. At some point we stopped passing on the knowledge that had been passed on to us; gardening, food knowledge – medicinal and cooking, bottling, pickling, knitting, sewing, crocheting, fixing stuff – cars, houses, plumbing, wiring etc.
We gradually gave over the responsibility for that to the “experts.” Medical practitioners, educators, government – we looked to authorities for our answers. We gave away our personal power, and our confidence in our ability to solve our own problems, to “the authorities” – the people in charge – and we don’t know how to get it back.
How did that happen? Well, at some point we decided that it was more convenient to shop for our food, giving rise to supermarkets. And, we needed stuff that we didn’t have – new stuff. That required more income than what the average person could bring in, so both husband and wife became income earners.
Efficiency became the new virtue of society, and without any thought or awareness of the consequences, progress happened. Much of it has been good, but there has been a cost. The cost has been to our society.
Over the past several decades, there has been a widening gap in society between the generations. We now find ourselves with a society that has major generational disconnects. The exchanges that used to be a normal part of family and community life, across all stages of our lifespan - childhood, adulthood, elders - are no longer a common part of everyday life. We have institutionalised much of our society – from day-care to retirement villages, and natural opportunities for interaction have been lost.
A re-balancing of society is certainly necessary, but here’s the thing: There is only one way this can happen, and that is if we are part of it. We must unlearn the habit of expecting the government to sort out our problems for us. For the “educators” to educate our children. For the experts to tell us how to live.
We have the ability, and the mandate, to breathe life into society, and make the changes we want to see happen. We have knowledge. We have expertise that is in danger of being lost to the generations that follow, unless we wake up and realise what is happening, and, we need to learn new ways of communicating inter-generationally.
But there is more to pass on than just “knowledge.” It’s that indefinable sense of who we are, that is not getting through.
We also need to believe that what we have within us is worthy of communicating. We need to honour the deposits of our own parents and grandparents who passed on their knowledge, and look for those who want to learn from us. And, the wise among us know that learning is a two-way street; the younger generation can teach us a thing or two as well – and I’m not just talking about technology.
Make sure you read Jim Battersby’s story (front page) as his story offers a solution. Also check out Jai Payal’s article on page 4, which relates to much of these ideas.