Saturday, August 27, 2016

Intergenerational magic

This week's Artdog Image(s) of Interest: 
Elders and elementary kids, reading together: bridge-building between generations helps all parties.




The "loneliness epidemic" in our society is well-documented--we may have instant communication, but "proximity, as city dwellers know, does not necessarily mean intimacy," Olivia Laing noted in her article, "The Future of Loneliness," in The Guardian. And loneliness hits older people hardest of all.

But I would argue that the divide hurts the younger generation, too. Divorce and separation of families to far parts of the country can disconnect grandparent-child relationships, robbing the younger generation of chances for unconditional love and a healthy perspective on aging. People deprived of experiences with stable, loving elders may grow up without empathy or compassion for the lives and value of older people, and they also may live in needless terror of aging.

All across the country, a variety of programs have developed to match elder volunteers with preschool and elementary children, often most explicitly in support of the children's literacy--but with a broad range of "add-on" values as side effects. I can only hope this trend prospers and grows!

IMAGES: Many thanks to Native News 2014,  The Un-Retired, and Move With Balance Youth Programs for the images on this post. 

2 comments:

  1. I'd love to train/certify Zoe to the level that she could be a reading volunteer or comfort dog, and then have the time to volunteer to read with kids. Kids read more fearlessly to dogs, and I would then be the "dog lady" rather than the "old lady."

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    1. Go for it! I'd love to know how it works out.

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