Every parent and grandparent feels communication gaps with younger generations at one time or another. We care so deeply about our families and students and want to find ways to enhance mutual understanding. We easily recognize the problem by how shut out we feel and often we are desperate for practical solutions.
Our Older and Wiser Perspectives
Sharing wisdom for future generations effectively usually demands excellent timing and non-pedantic (non-preachy) delivery. I think every parent recognizes our tendency to preach to our children what we think we know is best. “You should do this, you should not do that, well when I was your age things were different, I am telling this to you for your own good.” Of course, we know what is best as we see ourselves as older, wiser and having learned from our experiences. We recognize of course, that our tendency to preach to our children or students comes from our intentions of deeply caring and not wanting them to make the same mistakes that we have made. Unfortunately, the delivery of our wisdom can often be accompanied by a holier than thou or pedantic attitude, often given away by our tone of voice. Of course, we know we have wisdom and feel we have the right to preach it in our own knowing way because we realistically think we have earned it. Wrong!
Our Younger Generations Perspectives
From the younger generation’s perspective, their job is to resist the authority of their parents most of the time. They feel they must grow up and discover the truth in their own ways and in their own time and through their own mistakes and experiences. Generally, no matter how much they can sense that the things their parents/elders share might be in their own best interest, their natural tendency is toward rebellion. Who wants to listen to old-fashioned, antiquated, fuddy-duddy’s views anyway?
Building Bridges and Sharing Our Wisdom in Resourceful Ways
How can we best bridge the generation gap and share our wisdom in non-authoritarian and more resourceful ways? I believe the answer lies in extending an invitation of mutual discovery. I have found this inspires active participation and discovery for everyone. Using the Appreciative Inquiry questions presented here, actively engages both writer and reader to participate in the process. Inquiry can bring forth a sense of mutual equality and shared investigation.
Extending an invitation of discovery begins with taking the time and attention to share whom and what you value with others. This can inspire loved ones of all ages to feel cherished, important and appreciated by your thoughtful efforts.
Clarify Your Universal Values
When we clarify our universal values we find common ground. The many universal essences or values presented here for consideration, (like kindness, compassion, humor etc.) are like the harmonies of a universal symphony we all aspire to create together. Make a list of universal values you think everyone wants to give and receive. My list includes; kindness, compassion, honesty, gratitude, acceptance, humor, creativity, learning, communication, trust, freedom, music, laughter and integrity. Ask yourself, “What qualities or values do I find myself wanting to share most with current and future generations?” Have fun making a list of your key values words.
The Importance of Inquiry Based on Values
Inquiry opens our minds and orients us in a receptive way to look for and consider possibilities. It allows you to be perceived as a spiritual human being and not just a human doing. This process assists in the recognition that what we do is not as important as how we do it. A compassionate hug, understanding eye contact, simple words of kindness or the loving tone of your voice make communication of what matters most, more clear and meaningful. Inquiry based on values is my best known process to prime your pump and bring forth your fountain of wisdom in positive and honoring ways for current and future generations to learn from and enjoy.
Exploring this experiential work of art guides you through creating a timeless resource that explores your inner landscapes of personal and universal wisdom. The many universal essences or values presented here, (like kindness, compassion, humor etc.) are like the harmonies of a universal symphony we all aspire to create together. This unique blend of appreciative inquiry with universal values can inspire participation into the dance of wisdom for all who utilize it.
This investigative process assists one’s ability to address problems from a positive, resourceful place. It will assist the person mired in the usual rat pack of problems generated by the mind and everyday life as well as assist those who are highly open, spiritually gifted and evolved. Strengthening a deeper sense of connection within yourself, your family, community, and humanity in memorable and healthy ways is my worthy passion for sharing your legacy of wisdom work below.
Choose Inspiring Questions to Ask About Universal Values.
Perhaps the most important questions you may want to ask are listed below. (Insert a value to investigate like Kindness into each blank space) Record your insights for each value.
- What do I appreciate most _____________?
- I wonder what gets in the way of my not experiencing _____________.
- What fascinating experience, story or quote illustrates _____________ for me?
- I wonder what other positive qualities might inspire my experiences with_____________?
- What matters to most people the about _____________?
Give Freely and Trust in Optimal Timing
As for the importance of optimal timing, it is often true that it is after the parents or grandparents are dead and gone, that their loved ones who miss them are ready to embrace what they have lost in a deeper way and actually embrace their legacy of wisdom. This may also be true because when most of our elders are gone, we are becoming the elders ourselves and have more time, interest, wisdom or perhaps fewer distractions that our earlier lives permitted, all of which may hone our willingness and desire to share such meaningful gifts.
It is also true that physical distance is a huge factor these days, as so many families like mine are spread across the globe, making the sharing of wisdom very difficult. I am often saddened by the fact that distance prohibits me from sharing as deeply as I would like with my gorgeous grandchildren. This is why sharing your wisdom in an open and inviting way and documenting your stories and insights is so important. Whether you choose to write your responses, audio or video record them, please just preserve them for all generations to enjoy.
- I highly suggest writing out your responses to gain clarity and then asking the person you want to create unity with (or someone from that generation) to interview you by asking the questions you have prepared and videotaping your responses to the interview. Do you see the Genius here? Your wisdom is valuable and so are you!
I believe this process is important because, as they say, common sense is not so common anymore. When I look around at the challenges our children and teenagers today face it is my opinion that they need real heroes in their lives who model and share the values that can truly initiate change within their lives. They need real heroes that they can relate to, moving beyond sports jocks, movie stars, and wealthy icons. I believe that sharing universal values at this very important time in our history is of utmost importance due to societies being inundated by a constant and pervasive materialistic focus in addition to all the distractions that both adults and children are constantly inundated with.
Providing a legacy of wisdom for your loved ones can build a timeless bridge of insights that will demonstrate and share your values for all generations to enjoy. It is an opportunity for you to be a guiding light and a valuable resource by giving your time and experience to current and future generations. It is a true gift of caring, sharing, courage, unity, and love.
Be a Wisdom Keeper and Catalyst
Many people may feel that they personally lack wisdom and have nothing that is meaningful to share with others. I assert that this is absolutely not true. We all have our accomplishments, whether that is overcoming a huge obstacle within relationships, overcoming health or financial challenges, or sharing simple acts of accomplishment and kindness, there is great wisdom within all of our experiences and stories, both positive and negative.
The Native American Indians and other tribes throughout time have emphasized that we must consider seven generations into the future when making important choices. I believe this process is one way to accomplish this goal. We all have so much wisdom reflected in great experiences to share that can truly enhance the lives of others. Sharing your wisdom becomes empowering for you also, as you focus on what and whom you value and why.
After creating and writing my book; Leave a Legacy of Wisdom, for my loved ones and others to follow using this process, I can’t help but wonder how different my life might have been if someone had provided me with something so special and valuable. I can imagine what a heartfelt and invaluable resource this might have been during the times I truly struggled as a teenager and as a young wife and mother. If someone older and wiser had taken the time and effort to share their hard-won wisdom and insights and written them down especially for me, I would have felt honored and deeply treasured by this generous gesture.
Through appreciating our universal values, we can touch a deep place of universal connection and understanding. Perhaps after completing this process, you will feel as I have; as if you have just fulfilled a sacred trust. For it is the responsibility of each generation to provide a guiding light for those they bring into the world and others that they may choose to assist as well. When asked “what is the most important thing in your life,” most people would say it is their family, especially their children and grandchildren. This is an opportunity to claim that you are important, your life is important, and realize that the universal threads of your wisdom can have a very strong impact on those that you choose to share them with. I am humbled as many people are sharing that both working with and receiving this process has been truly life changing.
Many people have passed away with much of their cherished memories, valuable stories and wise understanding not shared, which is truly sad and with possibly tragic future consequences. In most native tribes the elders or wise ones were considered to be the wisdom keepers. I am encouraging you to be a wisdom catalyst and a wisdom keeper. I trust that sharing your wisdom will enhance many positive outcomes within the lives of those you touch.
Remember, the best tried and true trick I know to bridging our generation gaps is all about providing an open invitation, an open appreciative investigation into universal values. This inspires everyone who reads it to automatically ask the questions and thereby actively participate with an open mind, allowing one to experience our common ground of universal values.
From the book by Iris K Barratt: Leave a Legacy of Wisdom
A Process to Inspire Sharing Your Stories, Values & Insights
Now available by EBook the $5. Legacy of Wisdom EBook
It is filled with inspiring example stories, gentle wisdom and insights to prime your pump for sharing your personal legacy of wisdom with current and future generation to come. It contains a list of over ninety key values and over forty key questions for your consideration and enjoyment. You may enjoy Iris’ insightful blog at www.AnonymousExpressions.com
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