Over the next few weeks we’ll be producing a blog series titled “Building Bridges Across the Generational Divide.” As you read a variety of perspectives from women from different walks of life and different generations, we hope that you’ll feel encouraged and challenged to reach out with grace, understanding, and empathy to connect with those in a different generation.
Connecting Across the Generations
By René Allen
Older women … are to teach what is good, and so train the younger women to love their husbands and children … that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-5
My texting alert went off, and I pulled up a text sent from a young mom. “Hey, René , I am so frustrated with a situation involving my daughter. Can we talk?” Each generation forms and molds its own culture – its own way of “adulting” (acting in a mature fashion). Yesterday’s “structured time to be taught” doesn’t seem to be well received by the millennial generation. How then do we reach and teach the next generation?
The bulk of decision-making on how to inspire, garner respect from, and ultimately engage that generation is being made by people outside their generation, sometimes without their input. Millennials have valuable advice on how to reach millennials. This young mom had told me that texting was her way to communicate. We’d talked, as equals, about being moms and the unique challenges of child rearing. I texted her back and arranged to talk later that night. She has a hubby and a close friend, both very opinionated, who have a lot to say on the matter of appropriate child rearing, so she sometimes doubts her decisions. Turns out she’d been very wise in handling the matter and simply wanted reassurance. I was so proud of her and told her how impressed I was with the actions she’d taken and planned to take in the future.
- Millennials want someone to go to, not necessarily someone to proactively advise them. With whom might you connect today to walk alongside them in relational connection? She is just a text, an app or a chat away!
- Millennials often use technology and media to communicate. What might be a favorite form of technology and media you could use to connect with the young women in your life/church?
- Millennials are a collective. Having grown up with fewer physical or geographical boundaries separating them than in any previous era, they are truly multicultural. In their generation, an El Paso-born Hispanic fashion designer can be friends with a Norwegian architect from Connecticut, having met at college. How might we use this knowledge to find common ground? What questions could you ask young women to see whether you “click” with any of them?
Prayer: Father, may we be aware of ways to connect with our younger women and develop the kind of relationships that open the door to teaching them those things we’ve been tasked to teach them. May Your Holy Spirit teach us together, so Your Word is not maligned as we do the works that You prepared in advance for us to do – for Your glory. Amen.
René Allen is a pastor’s wife and life coach, currently leading a women’s Bible study at her local church and mentoring several young women in her ministries in Lowell, MA. Prior to this, she led Bible studies and mentored young women at her previous church in Pittsburgh, PA.