“Children make you want to start life over.”
Moving forward in our lives we will naturally lose connections with friends, not spend as much time with our extended family and fall prey to the 21st century curse of busyness. Those of us who have children will eventually become empty nesters, and the constant swirl that was our children’s lives evolve into their own adulthood, leaving a void of being in contact with younger people.
It is natural, it is inevitable and it is troublesome.
Dr. Roger Landry in his book “Live Long, Die Short” states that socialization with children, mentoring and giving back can lead to a more fulfilling life. Relationships with children can eliminate the plagues of loneliness, helplessness and boredom, and potentially lead to lower mortality rates and medication reduction. Dr. Landry states that “young –older people association can be characterized as a win-win”.
Multigenerational relationships can benefit society in so many positive ways. Children and families take part in family potlucks, celebrations, children’s dance and choral groups, ceremonies, service projects, fundraisers, field trips, get-aways, and other activities.
The United States is undergoing a critical demographic transition: The population is aging. By 2040, the proportion of people over the age of 65 will top 20 percent, and people under the age of 18 will make up almost 23 percent of the population. As a result, the oldest and the youngest populations combined will make up almost half of all U.S. residents. This trend is also a global one, directly affecting planning practice worldwide (WHO 2007). As planners work to plan and design sustainable and livable communities they will need to simultaneously consider the needs of these similar, yet different, populations in future plans, policies, and projects.
We have a plan!
David Hornak, Principal of Horizon Elementary in Holt, and I have been collaborating on a project that maximizes the bringing together the young and old. David named it Boomers Rock Unified and through this model we want to encourage older adults to come into David’s school and become integral parts of a healthier more robust multigenerational community.
Unifying our human capital, volunteering and mentoring, becoming part of a pilot project right here in Mid-Michigan is our goal. The unquestionable need for quality multigenerational exchange can benefit our older citizens, improving their quality of life, and our schools and their students.
Our goal is to become a model for other schools in our area, and nation. We need to support this action which can include-
- Readers, Listeners
- Exercise leaders/Walking school bus volunteers
- Advanced learning mentorship professionals
You can hear David in an interview discussing the entire issue.
Make an Impact!