Friday, January 05, 2018

Generational Segregation

Generational Segregation

A few years ago, I was having lunch with a friend in a well-known restaurant. I looked around and noticed that we were the youngest people there. The next day I was having lunch with another friend in another restaurant and realized that we were the oldest people at that place. I hadn't realized until that week how segregated by age our lives have become.

A few generations ago, in a more agrarian and less specialized society, generations often worked together in the fields or in the shops. Young people learned from their elders and older people benefited from the enthusiasm and energy of younger people. Today older people are often unwilling or unable to share their years of wisdom, and all too often younger people do not seek it out, or discount the idea that they may have much to share.

Since I have become aware of this situation, I have made a concerted effort not become one of the "old-gray-beards" that sit around and complain about everything. I started reading books written by younger authors and subscribed to magazines that are clearly aimed at millennials.

We later changed churches to a congregation with attendees with an average age at least twenty-five years younger than our previous church. This means making friends and developing strong relationships with people much younger than we are is far easier than before.

This has been extremely encouraging.The generation of people born between 1978 and 1998 are some of the best yet. Not only are they comfortable with technology (it is normal to them and not novel like it is to me), but they are highly energetic and capable leaders. They value relationships and see kindness as important in all areas of life.

There is great value in maintaining long-term relationships with friends and co-workers, and family we have enjoyed for many years.There is, however, a need to recognize the value in crossing age barriers that our culture wants to build around us to experience life at its best, with all age groups represented for all that they can add to our life.

I just want to live long enough to see what happens next.

Jim Mathis