It is important to value age and experience
by Helen Gwynne-Kinsey
Suitable for Key Stage 4/5 - Church Schools
To raise awareness of the importance of valuing age and experience.
Preparation and materials
- None required.
- Have you ever heard of the term the ‘generation gap’?
It is a term that is usually used to refer to the differences between people of younger generations and those in society who are older. When we are in school, spending the majority of our time with people who are the same age as us, it can sometimes become much too easy to ignore those in society who are older than we are.
- Christianity teaches us that our relationships with one another are very important. In Matthew's Gospel, Jesus says that whenever his disciples do something good for other people, it is as if they are doing it for him. Christians therefore believe that it is very important to find ways to build positive relationships, especially between the different generational groups in society.
- One recent project that has tried to build bridges between generations is called The 1932 Intergenertional Project. This project was set up by Dr Louisa Evans, a GP at a village medical centre in Wales.
The name - The 1932 Project - comes from a verse in the Bible, Leviticus 19.32. It says, ‘Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly’ (NIV).
- Unfortunately, in our modern culture, older people can often be ignored by others in society, as if they no longer have a useful contribution to make to the world. The Bible, however, sees things differently and emphasizes the fact that the learning process between young and old can work both ways - talking to each other across the generations can bring great benefits to both groups.
- When Dr Evans visited her patients at the local care home, she realized that they had each lived interesting and varied lives, yet their stories and experiences would soon be lost. She therefore invited a group of sixth form students from the local school to compile a file on a family member or neighbour aged over 75 during four or more information-gathering sessions. Each depicted a family tree of three generations and the subject’s social history, including schooling, employment and spiritual beliefs.
The information gathered was varied and interesting, but the real value of the task lay in the fact that different generations talked with one another, learning from each other and growing in mutual respect.
Time for reflection
Think about the value of taking the time to speak with members of the older generation.
Think about the things that they have experienced in life and how their experiences could help us to come to a better understanding of the landmarks we will face in our lives.
Do you know any older people who are lonely? Have you ever taken the time to speak with them? Maybe we would be surprised by their lives if we took the time to listen.
Could you be a good role model for your generation and help to build good relationships with other generations?
Thank you for the older people who are involved in our lives.
Please help us to recognize their wisdom and be willing to draw on their experiences.
Please help us to play our part in pulling different generations together.