Friday, May 27, 2011

The Benefits of Multi-Generational Friendships

Most of my friendship circle is limited to people my own age: fellow Gen-Y-ers. These are friends with whom I can talk about music festival experiences, friends who share a mutual love for Caleb Followill, who can relate when I bitch about how my casual job is so low-paying, who are struggling to finish their undergrad degree or are fresh out of uni and still have no idea what they want to do, and most of all, friends who understand the bane-of-our-existence when it comes to finishing assignments (damn you Facebook!). But I’ve also been blessed to have a few friendships with people in their young teens, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties…you get the picture. Such friendships are very special to me and I would almost go so far as to say they are more special than the ones I share with people my own age. That’s no dig on my Gen-Y buddies but being friends with people from different generations has given me a unique perspective on certain things in life.

Hanging around my Gen-Z friends brings back memories of high school, silly crushes on the opposite sex and the hilariousness of early teen melodrama. I’m absolutely floored by my Gen X friends (mostly mums) and their multi-tasking skills. I envy their ability to balance work with being devoted parents, on top of doing regular volunteer work - many have even gone back to do further study. I’ve always found my Boomer friends to be some of the most encouraging and generous bunch I’ve ever met, always offering a kind word or opening up their homes to people. They know what it is to be broke, self-conscious and unsure of yourself in your teens and twenties, to go through the striving and stresses of early parenthood and to come out the other side.

Once a month I get the privilege of hanging out with a group of seniors. From my Builder friends I have learnt not to sweat the small stuff when you’re young - still working on the application of that pearl of wisdom. And contrary to the belief that oldies are boring, I have learnt from these lovely people that you can be vibrant and have a sense of humour even when you’re an eighty-something. I’ve observed in the youngest and oldest friends among my acquaintance a lack of inhibition, or an un-self-consciousness (is that a word?) that I find incredibly inspiring. People like 90-year-old Ilona whom I wish I knew personally!

I only wish I could say I had more multi-generational friendships. If you hear of any elderly ladies who want to hang with a 20-year-old girl, tell them to get in touch.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Helicopter Parents

As someone who works in a school environment I've become very familiar with 'Helicopter Parents'. I can spot them a mile off .My hackles start to rise when i'm talking to them and I feel a great sense of unease for the children within that family. Sometimes I catch myself thinking about helping the child find fantastic spots to hide from their parents in or teaching them some kind of extreme sport that would make their super safety conscious parent hyperventalate. You may think that this is all a bit dramatic and I admit that it is, but if you've ever really, truly come into the grasp of the well intended yet smothering worry of a helicopter parent you wouldn't mind my rebellion so much.

For those of you who don't know what a Helicopter parent is, i've kindly detailed their most famous attributes.

Looks Like:      -Can often be found in a cold sweat or with a self induced worry rash.
                          -Their eyes will be perpetually scanning to pinpoint the exact wherabouts of their children.
                          - Often doing embarressing things to teenage sons/daughters such as holding hands or
                           wiping muck of their face with spit and a tissue.
                          -Will be the ones still picking up their kid in yr12 and going on all the school trips
Sounds Like:    -They are right. Helicopter parents never believe they have anything to learn, they are
                           experts at raising children.
                          -Prepare to hear gasps and worried shrieks and don't be alarmed if you hear comments like
                           'when I was flipping through my daughters diary'.
Feels Like:      - Smothering. You will feel the sudden need to either depart, inflict some kind of pain or tell
                           them to be quiet.
                         -Did I say smothering?