Research shows that friendships with people of all ages expands your world view and brings a host of other benefits. Referred to as inter-generational friendships – these relationships are being encouraged all over the world as we see more and more benefits emerge for everyone involved.
So, just what can older and younger generations learn from each other?
The younger generation can learn valuable life lessons from an older generation who has experienced their own array of setbacks and triumphs. Conversations that focus on these things can often relieve anxiety for youth about their own future.
The older generation also benefits immensely from this inter-generational friendship. Their interactions can invigorate them and reduce feelings of loneliness. The older person can share their family stories with a brand new audience, and feel like their life mattered.
Younger people can teach older people about technology, while older people can share their skills like cooking and crafting.
What else you can learn from the younger generation as you get older:
How to Play
As kids, we jumped at any opportunity to have fun and be silly. Then life tells us to sit still and mind our manners. Eventually we find ourselves losing our silliness. By spending time with young people, older people can re-learn how to enjoy themselves and make the most of every moment. There’s no need to take everything so seriously, and it’s okay to relax and play every now and then.
How to be more open minded
Kids are tolerant and open-minded. This not only applies to how they choose friends, but also how they learn. Young kids don’t choose friends based on background, political views, career choices, or education. They are keen to learn and absorb knowledge and take on new ideas and opinions. As we age we tend to become a bit set in our ways, and in our ideas. Young people can teach us to keep an open mind and get excited to develop new skills or learn something new.
How to appreciate the little moments
Young people get a bad rap for being attached to screens – but with phones, social media, cameras, and countless other tools, they are able to record and share moments of their day. This technology encourages them to share photos of meals, post daily updates on their activities, and respond to other important moments shared by others. Seniors can learn from the younger generation to better appreciate the little moments of their day and be more open to sharing moments, thoughts, or ideas with friends and family.
The benefits of these relationships were recently shown in a beautiful Australian ABC documentary called Old Peoples Home for 4 Year Olds. This heartwarming tale showed the special bonds that can be formed and that each generation has unique skills to contribute…the important part is finding each other!