Your opinion: Loss of intergenerational links

Michael Lester

City of Jefferson

Dear Editor:

Relationships, relatives, relationships — loss. Many of us have felt deep pain with the intersection of these four words describing our experiences over the past two years.

But I want to talk about another loss involving relationships, loved ones and relationships. Unlike the pandemic, this loss has been so gradual that it has eluded us.

This happened to me years ago when I was in my attic wiring up an exhaust fan. I pulled an old pocket knife out of my jeans to strip a wire to connect the fan to our home electrical system. The knife was a gift from the father-in-law. It suddenly occurred to me that my stepfather had probably used this knife many times the same way he showed me how to use it to strip insulation from small wires. It made me think of the rarity of this transfer of tools and the instruction in their use – how, in just a few generations, this torrent of transfer of skills and tools had dried up and the loss of relationships and resulting relationships had diminished our interactions. generational connection.

In the recent past, cars were platforms for transportation and learning. We learned how the mechanical systems worked and only worked well with the maintenance and adjustment for which it was necessary to have the right tools and the right knowledge, often learned from a father, an older brother, a another relative or friend. Cars are now a better means of transportation, but have become closed systems that can only be tampered with by trained experts with advanced, specialized tools – inaccessible as learning platforms outside of institutional settings.

One day, my wife decided to teach our great-granddaughter how to bake bread. They made a loaf each of honey oatmeal and cinnamon cranberry. What a fun learning experience with a delicious ending! Great introduction to kitchen tools and techniques – mixing bowls, sieves, measuring cups and spoons, rolling pin, etc., with as a by-product images of a cheerful, floury great-granddaughter preparing dough for bread for the oven Shared kitchen tools, knowledge and productive experience — new connections and relationships.

Now we are inundated with electronic tools, gadgets and information. Why consult elders when the Internet and YouTube beckon you with their vast storehouse of videos and texts on the “what is” and “how to” about everything. Oh how much we have gained and, moreover, how many relationships, relatives, relationships we have lost.

About Anne Wurtsbach

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