Why do we make time to communicate across four generations?

Communication is simple and complicated.

    Communication is simple because we care about one another.
    Communication is complicated because communicating across generations is work and potmarked with potential misunderstandings. We don't always speak one another's language. We don't always agree on what is important. We don't always understand why someone said or did certain things, or why they didn't. We want to be understood and aren't always. We try to understand but sometimes can't unless we can talk some things out.
Love, listening and forgiveness bridge the gaps that could make communication across the generations difficult if not impossible.

Love seeks what is best for another.

    Love lets the other be the unique person that God intended.
    Love allows others to do what they believe is right
    Even if love is silent, love isn't silent.

Listening lays the groudwork for glimmers of understanding to grow.

    When a baby cries in excitement or pain, older generations listen and take action.

    When an octogenarian remembers family heritage times, younger generations listen and learn.

    When babyboomers make suggestions after being asked or not at all, adult children may listen more willing or ask for details.

    When adult children share from their lives, older generations listen and pray, and they may share something relevant, or not; and younger generations learn they need to listen to their parents so that things go well with them.
Forgiveness binds the wounds that are inevitable through misunderstandings and our bungling humanity.

    How do people who do not embrace the transforming love of God forgive?

    I don't know how they can.

    Although my experience is extreme, I will share it. I grew up in a non-Christian family for much of my young years. Anger, arguments, bitterness, resentment, misunderstandings, psychological and physical wounds were more prevalent than modeled forgiveness. It didn't seem a good thing at the time, but being placed in a Christian children's home and foster homes, got my sister and I out of bad environments and gave us models of love and forgiveness from which to choose how we would live.

    Christians have an opportunity to live out God's forgiveness in their relationships.

    I became a Christian because God's love was real and healing.

    As a Christian, I am continuing to learn to tap into God's love as a source of forgiveness. I'm still practicing this. When I grasp God's great love for me and for others in my mind and my heart, then I'm willing to let go of the things and the memories that have hurt me and have broken gaps into my ability to communicate across the generations.

Communication across the generations takes work. The best types of communication are filled with love and forgiveness and seek to understand more than to be understood. Good communication is important and it is worth the effort.

Good communication is important for extended families, church families, and communities large and small.

How do you encourage communication across generations?


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