3 Benefits of Connecting With the Younger Generation
In these fast-changing times, many families live hundreds of kilometres apart. It seems the younger and older generations may not get together as frequently as before. They lose out on the mutual benefits of connecting with each other.
When I was a little girl my parents sent me to stay with my Grandma in Germany every summer. She lived in a sleepy little village surrounded by farmland which was a big change for me growing up in a British industrial city. Sometimes we were joined by one or both of my younger cousins, Stephen and Danny.
How did Grandma manage up to three boisterous kids on her own? We did farm chores. I remember freaking out the first time I gathered eggs because they were warm! We fed the pigs and chickens, rode on the tractor, herded cows back from the field and were often chased by geese (I’m still a bit wary of walking in some parts of Vancouver’s Stanley Park).
We learned about the circle of life from witnessing a calf’s birth to the beheading of chickens that became Sunday dinner.
I remember those childhood summers fondly, and my Omi must have liked them too to have us come back year after year.
The benefits of bringing the generations together
When people are raised in different time periods their values and perceptions of the world can be quite different. That’s why spending time with grandchildren or other youngsters can be beneficial in so many ways.
Here are three of them:
- It keeps your perspective young
Instead of just hanging out with your peers and talking about your latest golf scores, the twinge in your back, or reminiscing about the “good” old days you can see the world again through a child’s eyes. The expression “out of the mouth of babes” reminds us of the fresh outlook on life children have.
Interacting and learning from youth gives you the opportunity to learn new skills. You’ll also keep up to date with the latest trends – in technology, gadgets, movies, what they’re taking in school – and everything else they’re involved in.
2. You visit places you don’t normally go to
Be honest. Would you spend the day at the amusement park going on rides and eating cotton candy now with your spouse or best friend? It’s a lot more fun to go to the zoo, Space museum, Enchanted Forest and Miniature land when you go with kids.
Related: Multi-Family Vacations
Play tourist in your town or city and revisit all the attractions accompanied by a fresh set of eyes.
3. Kids make you smile
And we all know that smiling can energize you. Having a relationship with young people has unexpected physical and mental health benefits. We tend to be more physically active and feel more productive when we have something to look forward to.
We get a sense of purpose when we pass on our knowledge and wisdom to mentor a child as well as experiencing and sharing the skills and hobbies we enjoy.
The bottom line
These days many families are spread across the country and may not get together often.
If you’re like me and your grandchildren live far away, you could connect with the kids in your neighbourhood (but not in a creepy way) and be a surrogate grandparent, or volunteer for special programs and events that support young people. You don’t have to have a child in Little League to be a coach. Libraries are often looking for people to read at Story Time.
It can only benefit you and your outlook on life when you can connect with and relate to younger generations.