Bridging the Generations

Bridging the Generations - Parenting Like Hannah

Sticking Points by Haydn Shaw

Conversations between grandparents and grandchildren are often hysterically funny. The older generation still tells stories featuring typewriters and record albums, while the younger ones are texting and discussing the pros and cons of the latest gadgets. Sometimes there are more puzzled looks and “huh’s?” than actual communication. It’s almost as if they are from different countries.

That’s the premise of the book Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come Apart by Haydn Shaw. Shaw’s premise is that most of the tensions in the workplace and our homes is because of our generational issues. We feel like we aren’t being heard by those in older and younger generations, because in reality we are speaking a foreign language to them.

Although aimed primarily at problems generational differences cause in the workplace, there is a lot for the parent and teen child to glean as well. Shaw defines the types of problems in our homes and workplaces that are actually caused because of generational differences. He spends a lot of time attempting to help readers understand why the other generations think and act the way they do.

According to Shaw, if we spent more time in our disagreements trying to understand “why” the other person wants things the way they do, instead of on “what” they want, we would come to workable solutions much more quickly. He even thoroughly discusses each of the twelve areas where things tend to break down when generations live and work together.The book contains lots of stories and practical examples to help us find more effective ways of communicating and working together.

If you find your family is having a lot of tension over things like clothing, work styles, communication, respect and more, this book is worth reading. Although, I would not consider this a “Christian” book in the strictest sense of the word, he does promote many Christian principles. If nothing else, I believe this book will encourage readers to start the process of seeking to understand why others are the way they are, instead of immediately jumping to negative conclusions.

My main complaint is that the author gets stuck on his flipflop analogy. To me it is a sign he sees generational differences which could actually also be due to personality types, regions of the country or other things in our background. According to him, I am in the same “cusp”, anti-flip flop generation he is, yet I would wear flip flops continually if allowed! He insists this belongs only to the younger generations, whereas I come from a long line of warm weather, bare-foot loving, flip flop females covering multiple generations.

Having said that, I think his general principle is basically sound. Attempting to truly understand and love those who disagree with you is the answer to many relational issues. Once you truly understand, you may find you have more in common than you realize or at least be more open to a compromise that helps everyone.

For anyone who is stuck in particular generational issues or wants examples and step by step instructions, this book would be very helpful. If you want a good read explaining some of the common differences in how the different generations think and act, Shaw’s book will help you understand things more quickly. Personally, I enjoyed reading the book and will keep it to share with others who struggle understanding the people in their lives.

After you have read it, I would love to hear your thoughts in a comment below. In the meantime, have you found the dynamics he describes in your own family? How do you work through them?

This book was provided to me for free by Tyndale in exchange for my honest review. I have shared the concerns I have and do plan to keep this in my reference library. This is an affiliate link for your convenience.

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV)