The chasm, she said, began to show itself in the early 20th century when immigrant families began to rely on their younger members to help them assimilate and find their way in the new culture.
For the first time in history, the experience of the elders seemed no longer relevant to the current generation's ability to navigate the future.
Just a few decades later, the outbreak of the Vietnam War and the growing distrust of authority widened the divide between young and old.
Practically every step forward we've taken as a culture since then has been to the detriment of the "chain of wisdom" that had existed for millenia. Increased geographic mobility; segregation of the generations (nursing homes and retirement communities; college campuses and suburban neighborhoods); the speed of technology and changes in the way we communicate; our hectic, over-scheduled lives and double-income families ... and on and on and on.
I think that we're just now beginning to realize that we've lost something along the way. That in this time of fear and transition in our world — our elders may have something to offer us. At least I hope that we're self-aware enough as a culture to acknowledge the gap. Because it's there.