Quite often I see family run businesses where the father on paper has passed the mantle onto his son or daughter, but keeps hovering over the company possessively, not wanting to relinquish his authority! This also happens in many homes.

The son or daughter feels the father is too old to manage the affairs of home or business and the father feels his offspring are too young and inexperienced!

In most cases both are right.

Both have something to offer that could contribute towards positive growth: The son has energy, the father has experience. But both look at the other’s assets with disgust, and think it is not worth anything.

If you look at an army, the best generals in the world are the ones who have studied history. From history they know how a particular battle was won or lost because of certain strategic or tactical moves. They also have the experience of former battles. But they cannot do this on their own, they need young soldiers full of enthusiasm and energy to go ahead and win their wars.

The old generals make plans and young soldiers use strength.

One cannot do without the other.

Problems take place when the young think that because they have strength they do not need the experience of the old, and the old think that having experience they can win on their own.

When this takes place, generally both fail or even if one or the other win, their win lasts for a short while.

When I go to New York, to visit my elder daughter, I sometimes feel very awkward because often I feel she treats me with extra care, “Sit daddy,” she tells me whenever she sees me standing at a bus stop or subway. Here at home nobody tells me whether to sit or stand. Initially, I used to tell her, that I am not old, but slowly I realized that it did not matter, because she was doing it for me. Also whenever I spoke to her, or gave her advice, she listened. So I listened when she wanted me to rest, and I realized that she listened when I spoke out of my experience.

When my daughters have a party, I do not go with them because I know I cannot take part in all their activities. But suppose I told them, “I will also come to every party and dance and sing and spend the night awake!” I’d be foolish.

Elders have to move back, and allow the youth to slowly take over activities. We must allow them to act on their own, even as they lean back once in a while to seek advice. Otherwise all our homes and businesses will become chaotic with too many generals and finally civil war..!

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