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Generations should unite

 

This past Friday, I had the pleasure of listening to Myrlie Evers-Williams, civil rights activist and wife of the late Medgar Evers. Evers-Williams has experienced so much in her lifetime — witnessing the assassination of her husband, the integration of the University of Mississippi and countless civil rights and women’s rights events. However, Evers-Williams did not just witness history; she helped create it. 

I consider her to be a very profound and intelligent woman. I respect her opinion and perspective on life. In her presentation, Evers-Williams advocated for her generation and our generation to work together for the common good. I think she made a wonderful point, and she struck a chord with many in the audience. 

The older generations have so much that they can teach our generation. They have life experiences and wisdom that we are just too young to have obtained. Plus, they have a plethora of stories that are usually really entertaining.

So what does our generation have to offer? We know more about technology than any other group of people and we adapt to technological advancement quickly. We are quick-thinking and hard-working. We tend to think more out-of-the-box to find solutions, instead of relying on traditional logic and thinking. 

Evers-Williams made a very good point during her presentation, saying that older people are too worried about losing power and younger people tend to be stubborn and quick to action. Imagine the work that could be done if the two generations united.

Combining the wisdom and experience of the older generation with the tech-savvy, non-traditional logic of the younger generation, the human race could solve many of the world’s current problems. 

Evers-Williams has experienced this in her life. The Civil Rights Movement was one that also included the “young versus old” conflict. Had the two generations worked more cohesively, the movement would have been stronger and possibly even more successful.

Why is it that we aren’t able to unite at this time? For one, younger people are often not willing to listen to the advice of older generations. I certainly have this problem; many times, I don’t have the patience to listen or feel I do not need any advice. On the other hand, older people often consider the younger generation to be stubborn (which is probably true) and too quick to act or thoughtless. 

Personally, I feel both generations need to give and take a little more. We can learn so much from the older generation. While I certainly think it’s important that we make our own mistakes, I also think it’s important to take their advice and life experience into account. Also, it’s important that the older generation takes our opinion seriously and allows us to enter positions of power and authority. 

Both generations deserve respect and should respect each other. So next time your grandmother goes to tell you a story about her life (and I’m going to do this, too), take a deep breath and really listen. Try to understand how you can use the wisdom of older generations to positively affect your life. 

And — to take it a step further — start a dialogue with other generations and develop meaningful, powerful relationships. We can change the world; it just takes a little extra effort.

 

Adam Blackwell is a sophomore public policy leadership major from Natchez. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBlackwell1.