AH-HA MOMENTS – WITH THE YOUNGSTERS!
We older adults need to spend more time with the children and youth around us! They need us and we need them. Talk about AH-HA Moments!
And while we are at it ourselves, how can we enable other peers to do the same thing, and learn from them as well? I think of Carol and Dave Ebeling, Indiana folks, who have been doing their “Grandparent Camp” for hundreds of years (or so it might seem!) with their grandkids. I remember our neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Hillside, Illinois, who would take my brother and me to ball games and other events. I think of Ken Black, trainer-of-mentors, who regularly goes to high school sports events just to “be there” and watch the youth from his church play ball. I remember Ralph Carrigan, Houston, Tx., who would treat me to lunch once a month, just to ask me how I was doing and listen to my ideas and thoughts. And he even treated!
Current studies show that the more young children spend time with older adults, the more positive they become about the elderly. The more they see and sense older adults as “real” people, the less scared they become of growing older themselves. You and I can help prevent ageism just by sharing our own hours and days with …..younger people!
Intergenerational friendships need to become a priority in our families, churches, and communities. This is easier said than done, however. I meet very few people who are “against” an intergenerational emphases, but it seems that the term has become so generic and “programmed”, that it has lost its oomph. How can we help to develop intergenerational friendships on more of a one-on-one basis?
There continues to be constant discussions about how the Church can appeal more to the millennials around us. Good question. Tom Couser does a great job of keeping us focused on this generation through his regular newsletter. Keep it up, Tom! This may sound too simplistic, but perhaps one small way of connecting better with this age group and to see them at worship and at work, is to simply show up where they are, instead of insisting that they come to us.
Let’s start a movement named something like, “Help your Kids Make older Friends!” It not only will be helpful to the youngsters around us, but it sure will be of help to us older adults as well! It’s a win-win for all generations!
How can you and I best use the gifts that the Lord has given us? We do have so much to give in terms of experiences, ideas, mistakes made, and sins forgiven. Perhaps one major way is to share our time and days by making it a priority to connect with younger people, at church, at home, at a sports event, and even at a place called St. Arbucks! Elizabeth Lindsey once said, “I believe when an elder dies, a library is burned. Vast sums of wisdom and knowledge are lost. Throughout the world, libraries are ablaze with scant attention.” Let’s share our faith experiences with others!
A closing story: Grandma recently had knee replacement surgery which meant as she was recuperating, she needed a cane to help guide her as she walked. She and her granddaughter went shopping for a cane. Grams picked out a sturdy black cane. After all, a black cane is easier to “hide” and will not be noticed as much. Sarah thought otherwise. “Let’s buy that red and white striped one over there, Grams. Let people know that you are alive and well and ready to play”!
This is what intergenerational relationships are all about, as we celebrate and serve with the younger and the older. And, by the way, they named the cane, “Candy”!
May your intergenerational AH-HA Moments continue, and grow!