The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, the local Naturalist Club, the Retired Teachers Association, the university students, the babies and mothers, the pre-school class, the First Nations Elders, the 27th Boy Scout Troop, the grade six class from the local school, the religious community centre down the street, Giselle’s Grandma visiting from Zurich, the Sierra Club, the car dealership
...the list is endless of all the opportunities that exist in our communities for intergenerational learning connections.
JUST ASK RESPECTFULLY
Most of the time, all you have to do is make a point of asking, respectfully, if any one of those individuals or groups would like to cross over and participate with you, or your group.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
The more simple the activity, the better your chances are for overwhelming success of the connection.
- The downturn in our economy is one of dollars, but not sense.
- We have rich resources that just need to be connected!
- They are not expensive, nor hard to dig up.
- They are constantly renewable, as our supply is endless.
- They are amazingly diverse and flexible.
- They have deep capacity to care and the desire to laugh.
- And they almost always like to share a snack!
One resource we don’t have to worry about running out of is a valuable human resource. With the demographics in Canada changing, it is a fact, the number of retired older adults is going to increase dramatically. These people are resources rich in understanding and experiences, just waiting to be tapped.
It also is a fact that more and more families find themselves in a situation where the parents work, sometimes long hours and split shifts, and children are without one-with-one adult interest for much of the day.
An increasing number of grandparents are disappointed when their grandchildren and children move away to the next province, or another country, to find work. They send cards, and hope for a response. They sit in homes, mulling over memories of the days when their families were around them.
Many clubs and associations are finding their numbers dwindling, and eagerly wish for younger people to move in to fill the spaces.
College and University students have much to offer to the ten and twelve year olds.
Mothers and fathers with new babies have much to teach children who don’t have babies in their families. All these new parents need to do is let children sit and watch how they handle baby, tend to its needs, and understand its calls, and coos. Elders, those with and without
grandchildren, are reminded of the beginnings of life, and its never ending cycle when they have a baby visit.
We cannot change any of these present trends, but what we can do is break down the barriers of family, culture, and religion, by breaking through the barriers of age with purposeful and meaningful connecting. Does it really matter if you make friends with someone else’s grandparent, does it really matter if you help out a teen who is not your son or daughter?
These kinds of connections are the ties that bind and strengthen community.
An endless list who are waiting to be respectfully asked, to participate in simple activities, across the barriers of age.