August 16, 2022

Across generations there is as much to learn as there is to teach

My Gran always had sayings like “waste not want not”, or “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”. Some of my older friends are saying to me that people are going to have to learn to live like that again, given the current financial situation. I personally don’t think it is that easy, or even possible any more.

We have become a throw away society. Things are not made to last. They break and you can’t get the parts to fix them, or are just told it is not worth it and to buy a new one. Most of our clothes have synthetic fibres in which make them hard to darn or make new clothes out of them. I remember my Mum making me an outfit out of one of her old dresses but the fabric would stretch out of shape now.

We older generation were also lucky enough to watch the skills of our parents, or grand parents, and we were taught them as part of the school curriculum. I learnt woodwork, domestic science, rural science, and needlework at school. All these skills still help me save money today. Our newer generations of mother’s have not had that advantage and will be learning everything from scratch. Although more people are learning about foraging and herbs and growing food, most of that wisdom is lost. The only good thing is that we can all learn skills from YouTube or Google.

I know I put on my page about the advantages of cooking from scratch but that must seem very daunting to some one who is used to opening a packet of chicken strips from Iceland, or buying a curry from the local takeaway. These kind of things are going to become luxuries and be harder to afford. This changing world must be so scary for younger people. A whole generation have never known high interest rates, food shortages, power cuts, or inflation.

Apparently it is going to get worse before it gets better financially, but that doesn’t mean life has to get worse. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all worked together and shared skills? We all have useful knowledge and skills and could learn so much from each other. We would then survive and thrive together. I don’t see that happening at the moment, though. Our society doesn’t foster positive relationships between the generations. I see older people isolated and struggling with a bank app which feels impossible to understand because the local branch has closed, whilst younger people waste food and money as they often haven’t been taught the skills, knowledge or mindset to make a nice meal from almost nothing. I am generalising here, of course, but you get the gist.

I am an optimist and I am hoping that we can all learn to respect other generations more, and learn to support each other through these expected hard times. We will come out of the other side richer in so many different ways if we do. Where do we start though, as we need to start soon before things get even harder? What do you think? Do you know of any initiatives that are helping with this?

There is as much to learn as to teach.

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