Will your kids send you links when you ask them for a Christmas list this year?
Do you ever call someone on the phone and in return they text you back?
Do you ever feel like your smartphone is vibrating in your pocket, even when the phone is not in your pocket?
The way you answer these questions and the emotion you feel illuminates exactly why communication gets tougher each Christmas.
The Christmas season often creates a clash of cultures as Veterans (born before 1946), Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X’ers (1965-1979), and Millennials (1980-2000) come together under one roof.
There is no doubt that everyone loves each other, but it can be so stressful—especially when it comes to communication.
For the first time in history, we have four generations not only living together and working together but also trying to celebrate Christmas and communicate with each other in completely different ways. Twitter, Google, Instagram, and Facebook seem to dominate the lives of so many this Christmas.
We are living in what Leonard Sweet
calls a T.G.I.F. world!
When it comes to our ever-changing world of communication, the important thing to understand is that anyone over 30 years-old at your Christmas gathering is an “immigrant,” and anyone under 30 is a “native.”
So, the question this Christmas is how do immigrants and natives get along under one roof?
Here are three ways to be successful in your intergenerational (T.G.I.F.) communication this Christmas:
- Realize Technology is Amoral. Technology is like money, it is neither good nor bad. It all depends on how you use it. So, when you see the technology “natives” in your home who seem to be buried in their phones, build a bridge and begin a conversation with them on how they are using this technology. Ask them what they are saying. Challenge them to use their words to encourage, build up and bless people this Christmas, whether those words are face to face or online.
- Pre-Announce a Technology Black-Out. Set up a time in advance that everyone in your house knows their technology will be off and put away. All conversations will happen face to face. By setting this black-out timeframe in advance, you stand a better chance for acceptance and participation! This “face time” will show respect and honor to those who prefer letters and phone calls, and it won’t kill those who prefer to text and tweet.
- Mix Print with Pixels. The older generation will prefer and be most comfortable with text on a page. The younger generation will prefer and be most comfortable with type on a screen. So before opening presents or eating Christmas dinner this year, why not read the Christmas story together from both mediums? Have someone read Luke 2:1-10 from a leather-bound Bible and have another person pick up right where they left off and read Luke 2:11-20 from a smartphone or tablet.
Focus on what brings you together, not what separates you.
Create a common ground and help all generations realize that what unites them is far greater than what divides them. Realize, especially when it comes to the Christmas story, it is not how you locate the story that matters, it is what you do with the story once you locate it!
I hope these T.G.I.F. tips are helpful.
Have a great Christmas, friends.