Parenting is a tough job, and since the dawn of time, parents have reared their children with an eye on the future. Every generation looks to both their history and the blank slate of tomorrow to teach their offspring about the world they inhabit, and the cycle continues on unabated.
Blending Age Old Traditions with New Fangled Ideas
Today’s youth lives in a world that is utterly and completely different than that of any time before. The children born into the 21st century have probably never even heard of most of the common household items that were in use just 50 years ago. The other side of that realization is the grandparents of these children grew up in an era where the everyday tools of the modern era were but fantastical flights of fancy.
Children who interact with elder members of society on a regular basis are offered the unique perspective of these widely disparate worlds simultaneously. Recent studies have shown that the benefits of intergenerational communications are immense and have innumerable positive effects on society as a whole.
Easy Ways to Encourage Intergenerational Communication
Bridging the gap between the young and old isn’t as difficult as it may look at first glance. By nature, kids are curious and by merit of their longevity seniors have a lifetime of experiences to share.
While we almost automatically assume it will be the adults who do the teaching and kids the learning, in an intergenerational connection both parties learn and grow. Today’s kids seem to have an uncanny ability to navigate technology with ease, a task that often stymies the Golden Years crowd. By interacting, both sides teach and learn naturally from each other.
Being the Link that Connects the Two
Have you ever noticed that old people and little kids just seem to get each other, on a level that those around them are often surprised by? If you’ve ever heard a toddler a blunt question to an elderly person, you likely immediately heard a middle-aged adult admonishing them to mind their manners. This is just as often responded to by indulging acceptance of the tot’s query and a bond is formed.
Those of us in the middle of our lives can learn a lot from this type of interaction, but the biggest lesson is that we should encourage communications between the younger and older generations. We should also do so without imposing our insecurities into the conversation. Shutting down interactions between the old and young out of worry of social taboos effectively closes the door on many intergenerational friendships.
Kindness Begins at Home
Encourage intergenerational interactions within your community by volunteering, checking in on elderly neighbors, and visiting senior centers. Senior citizens can return the favor by acting as mentors and caregivers for the young. By doing so, we are building a better tomorrow for our children and allowing our seniors to remain active and integral parts of society. Positive intergenerational relationships strengthen our communities.