Discussing Politics with Grandpa

How can we discuss politics between generations anymore?

A friend was recently telling me that her son won’t go around Grandpa anymore because grandpas political views are so different than his. The young man often vents to mom “He’s such an old stick in the mud- I can’t get him to change!!” I reminded her that Grandpa has had 80+ years to form his views- he’s not changing anything now!

Here are some tips on how have an “intergenerational political discussion:”

  1. Focus on common ground. This should be easy. Many Americans agree that we live in a pretty great place, talk about what you love about the good old USA.
  2. Seek to understand, then be understood. Myself and many of my cousins disagreed with our wise old Grandpa on many of his views, but we knew he had lived a full and rich life and had reasons for his views. We always asked why he stood for or against certain things. We never tried to change him, only understand why. It always changed how we had these discussions.
  3. Never accuse or blame. Whether we admit it or not, we generally have a deep love for our family members and if we feel attacked during a discussion, it can cause a deep riff that can be difficult to fix. I once heard a child say to an elderly parent “You’re the reason this country is in such a mess! It’s your generations fault!” It’s going to be hard to fix those hurt feelings!

Always remember, we can still talk about other important things. Like the weather. The Cleveland Indians. Or even how each other are doing.