I was reading The Week and came across an interesting fact: apparently one in four British women go clubbing with their mothers, according to a Usurv survey; 36% invite their mothers to social events with their friends.
Reading this made me smile at first. I then had this bizarre mental image of being invited by my “best friend forever”, my daughter, to a pub, agreeing to go and then finding myself sitting around a table with a bunch of young girls, chatting about their boyfriends or something and feeling incredibly out of place. Why would I want to feel that way?
Call me a cynic but I think survey statistics are sometimes begging to be challenged. One in four British women may go clubbing with their mothers but perhaps not because they want to! Also, 36% may invite their mothers to social events with their friends but what percentage actually goes?
These facts were written to suggest that the generation gap is closing fast in Britain. Indeed, our digital age has brought us closer together with regards to information access and social media; my “Baby Boomer” mum loves WhatsApp and uses it happily to share photos and jokes with me, as I do with my “millennial” daughter. And yes, I have invited my mother in the past to come out with my “Generation X” friends and myself, but only when I knew she really didn’t have anything else to do. But on occasion, she did also express a concern that it might be “awkward”, not for us but for her as a minority older person in a younger crowd.
I guess the question I am asking is: “why is it necessary for the generation gap to close?”. One answer can be found in the workplace. We still find that when multi-generational employees work in teams, different work ethics, motivational tactics and capabilities can prohibit working towards that common goal. However, I think it is important to recognise the different supporting roles that we play to our older and younger generations; we can celebrate the strengths of older generations with their stronger work ethic and whilst still acknowledging that younger generations will generally learn and adapt faster in our evolving technological environment.
When I was younger and struggled to make friends, my mother always reminded me that she would always be my best friend, no matter what. I repeat the same to my daughter today, when she needs to hear it. In our family, we have BFFs across different generations, and maybe over time, the gap will close as our relationships evolve. In the meantime, my mother, my daughter and I will continue to enjoy learning about one another; striving to develop a common language peppered by our multi-generational experiences.