A few weeks ago, WOW (Women on Writing) contacted me about THE LYRE AND THE LAMBS- asking Traveling With T to consider a guest post option. When I heard about what the guest post title was- I laughed a bit- because NO matter your age- mothers and daughters have communication problems. While some are big deal bad, others are not as bad- but both can have a souring affect on the relationship. Sydney Avey has written a guest post that is a thinker. Enjoy!
Mothers and Daughters: Communication across the Generational Divide
By Sydney Avey
Much has been written about communication between genders. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus comes to mind. Communicating across generations can be equally challenging. Soroptimist International put together a paper for their clubs that struggle to attract younger generations. They noted that for the first time in history four different generations co-exist in the workplace who all communicate in different ways. It is worth a read.
Novelists who write family sagas don’t have far to reach to create tension in a story. In addition to personality clashes between individual family members, each generation is wired differently. Your toddler picks up an electronic device and knows exactly what to do with it. She gives you a glimpse of a future where she and her generation alone will travel. Will you struggle to focus her attention on values passed down through the generations or help her prepare for a new world whose values you are unsure of? Likely you will do both.
My generation, the Boomers, were good at acquiring stuff; too good. Now we can’t give it away fast enough. It surprises us that many Gen-Xers have no use for our sets of china and silver, our treasured household goods. In a scene in The Sheep Walker’s Daughter, Dee faces a divide when she tries to pass down mementos from her mother Leora to her daughter Valerie:
“What’s all that stuff on the floor?” She surveys the altar of Leora’s memorabilia arranged like a miniature Stonehenge, a mute testimony to an unknown past.
It’s all stuff that belonged to your grandmother.” I’m suddenly finding it hard to talk about Leora in the past tense. “If there is anything there that you want…” I picture her stuffing the teal goose into her duffle bag and think better of my offer, “I can store it for you for when…” I don’t know how to finish that sentence. When you finish your degree? When you get a real job? When you get married? Anything I say will get me in trouble.
Dee is trying to figure out her past. Valerie is trying to negotiate her future. Dee lives in a world where women married and then tried to fit hopes and dreams into a husband’s world. Valerie lives in a world where women pursue goals, sometimes to the detriment of lasting relationships.
I have asked myself why God set us in time and gave us generational boundaries. It seems like a setup for explosive confrontations. But as I worked with three generations of women in my novels I came to realize that friction produces growth and maturity. Mothers and daughters clash, but they learn from each other. Dee learned to bite her tongue, reserve judgment and appreciate her daughter’s many talents. Valerie learned that tradition plays a valuable role helping us understand who we are outside of our time.
In passing down our stories, generations speak to us from the past even as we speak our hopes and dreams into the future.
About the author:
Sydney Avey is an author of historical and women’s fiction set in California. The Lyre and the Lambs is the sequel to her first novel, The Sheep Walker’s Daughter, which won an honorable mention from the Center for Basque Studies (University of Nevada, Reno) in their Basque Literary Contest. Both novels were published by HopeSprings Books, a small publishing house that promotes realistic Christian fiction.
Sydney and a lifetime of experience writing news for non profits and corporations. Her work is has appeared in Epiphany, Foliate Oak, Forge, American Athenaeum, and Unstrung (published by Blue Guitar Magazine). She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley and has studied writing at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. She lives with her husband Joel the Sierra Nevada foothills of Yosemite, California, and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.
Visit Sydney at www.sydneyavey.com and sign up to receive her monthly News for Readers and Writers.
*Special thanks to Wow (Women on Writing) for contacting me about this guest post and triple thanks to Sydney Avey for writing a “thinker” post.
Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,
T @ Traveling With T