Friday, April 29, 2011

GSD (Generational Stress Difference)

I get this a lot from my 20-something daughters:  I text my daughter that there are radio reports of congested traffic and full parking garages downtown because of an NRA convention. I text this, not to pass the time of day, but because this particular daughter lives and works downtown.  Or I hear on CNN that there are riots throughout Syria and a terrorist bomb went off in a cafe in Morocco, and mention this to my other "study abroad" daughter, in case she plans to travel to Morocco this weekend. So here's their response "Oh Mom, stop stressing."  I reply, "I am not stressing, I am informing."They define "information" as "stress," which I find, quite frankly maddening (and stressful.)  So I am wondering today, is this difference in definition a generational thing?

Today I woke up at 5:45 a.m. to enjoy watching coverage of the Royal Wedding of Catherine and William. I really enjoyed it, and it was very informative. I learned about social customs, millinery design, and boys' choirs. But now it's afternoon and I'm wondering what a 20-something royal couple stresses about? Today, obviously, it was stressful for Kate to remember the lyrics to "God Save the Queen," or how to get in and out of those cars and carriage without getting the gown dirty. Of course, when the royal couple gets older, William's stresses may include serious topics, like health worries, world problems, or war.

Here's stress for my 20-something daughters: iphone not working properly; mac laptop warranty voided because one too many beverages have spilled on keyboard; no parking place in the South Side; boyfriend didn't text back quickly enough; out of money and there is still a week 'til payday. And thank goodness these are their stresses right now! I want their lives to run smoothly and peacefully, and contrary to their opinion of me, I do not go looking for things to stress about. Moms just juggle so much at any given moment that if we can avoid a problem, we do. Information can sometimes help us avoid problems.

In my wildest imaginings, I never dreamed my children would all have cellphones and I would be paying the majority of their monthly bill. My goal was to stay connected with them. When the kids were little I actually had conversations with them that lasted more than 30 seconds per topic. Now we have cellphones that supposedly keep us connected (and ironically I remember that computerized electronics used to be used for information gathering...) But i have to admit, despite these devices, and mind you, one of the kids has data accessibility so she can actually go on the internet anywhere or anytime, they have scant desire to stay connected with me or the world. So actually, I am at fault here because I know better. I have helped my children buy into the myth that electronic devices connect you, when the reailty is, you will only "connect" with others if that is your desire.

When I was a child,  it was actually a privilege to get a phone call from someone. My mother taught me to say "Thanks for calling" and she still does that with me. At 6:30 each evening my Gramma telephoned our house and signalled us with two rings. My mom then called her back (it was a toll call for her to phone us.)  Now we get so many calls, it feels intrusive, and since we have caller I.D. we can ignore people. Wow have times changed.

I confess, I am guilty of avoiding dialing the telephone, so I have fallen out of touch with those who are not on facebook or in my email address book. (Connectivity is a two way street, however, and so I am thinking that it is possible that they don't want to stay in touch with me, either!)

No wonder newspapers are failing and so much of what we hear from news sources is unfounded, opinionated drivel.  The world currently doesn't always give a snip about real information, especially if it takes too long to explain. Once again, I admit fault in my own realm: too many movies in our household, too much fiction, not enough reality (well of course there is plenty of reality TV, but that is another post.) I have to work harder to teach my children to discern what is important information for their lives, and to separate the meat from the bone. That's quite the charge--now I'm feeling stressed.