Saturday, November 15, 2008

Talkin' 'Bout my Generation: Bridge the Gap

Well, it was about time for me to disagree with someone of my generation about how the world works. An article by Jarina D'Auria at CIO, entitled In Defense of Gen Y Workers has shown what happens when a Generation Gap is exploited. She launches an assault on 9 to 5 schedules, that the use of technology is not being used for its greatest potential and that older generations just don't get "it". I really believe that this is the wrong approach in both employment and in Freemasonry. We, each one of us, must agree on who best can work and how the work will be performed.

The article includes many harshly worded insults aimed at the past generation of workers. She seeks to expand the divide with rhetoric, including using the terms, "old folk" and "slackers". Do we really want this divide to exist in our workplaces or in our Lodges. It is true that the youngest generation of Masons is addicted to technology. (My family bought our first computer when I was eight years old.) I use Facebook, Twitter, and I obviously blog but why should this make me better than a man 20, 40, or 60 years older than myself?

Lodges are experiencing a generation gap but in my experience, it is not as easily defined nor perceptible, just as in employment. Many men joining lodges today are not from one age group; in fact, my Lodge has raised Boomers, Xers, and Millennials in somewhat equal proportions. It is important that we, as brothers, understand that there may be friction between these men yet we still can get things done. When I read articles like this that belittle earlier generations, I really see injustices done. I may not like the phrase, "it has always been done this way" but I can still take into consideration that brother's experience on the subject and seek a compromise.

Here is my proposition to Lodges and their officers: understand what each generation expects from you. My Lodge runs a website but also mails out newsletters to its members. Why? Many of our members do not use computers and would still like to stay informed of what the Lodge is doing. Flexibility is the key to survival. Lodges need to be flexible to the needs of the brethren and most especially, to bridge the gap with the cement that binds us all together and allows men of many ages to call each other brother.

1 comment:

burntloafer said...

What I am about to discuss is hardly an original idea, but the reason we enjoy blogs and Facebook, etc., is also one of the reasons we enjoy lodge. It is a way to make contact with others.

Older people are less likely to appreciate the internet, and correctly point out the lack of privacy and capacity for abuse. Younger people like the convenience, and feel a sense of group-speak because they share the medium. Both sides fear the unknown, but we are all capable of dealing with both hi and lo tech.

I am old enough, but still young enough, to value both sides of the situation. The net is a great tool, a great source of information, and it has changed my life in ways that I could never have imagined.

But it could never replace the one on one that I get in lodge. I am still tribal enough to appreciate the wisdom of others, and to learn by parable and example is probably more striking than reading words from a glowing screen.

To immerse yourself in one at the expense of the other would be the real mistake.