Intergenerational and Diversity in Connections and Conversations

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Virgin published a wonderful piece that reminded me of something I’ve thought about a few times in the past few years. The piece is about intergenerational learning.  You can read it here. There is much to be gained by connecting with people from other generations.

Years ago we participated in a small group gathering at church and for a while, it was cross-generational where people from different age groups met together to get to know each other, to eat together, and to share life together. Those were wonderful gatherings and through that process, I met people I simply otherwise would not have met. Our church discontinued that practice quite a while ago and now most such gatherings are with your same age group or class. That has been disappointing to my wife and me.

I think there are huge benefits in getting to know people from other generations and places. I’ve written before about diversity winning and in life, diversity wins in general. Learning from other, hearing their stories, helping them, spending time with others is a great benefit for all of us. This is true across generations as well as across other political views, across faiths, across nationalities, and across educational backgrounds.

I have dear friends in Singapore, Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, Austria, China, Thailand, Malaysia, France and across the US and other places and I treasure the conversations we’ve had, the times we’ve spent together and our common experiences. I remember arguing with a friend in Paris, France about the behavior of Bill Clinton and his need to be held to a higher standard due to his office.

All the #metoo messages of the past months have been earth-shattering to me.  I’ve noticed since these conversations began that movies I’ve watched for years are frankly speaking, horrible in their messages about relationships between men and women, particularly in the workplace. That which was funny to me before is not funny now. This was not clear to me before but because of these conversations, I now see some things differently.

The US political landscape is a mess with people screaming at each other and not listening. Let’s try instead to listen, make some new friends, engage in thoughtful discussion and try to be better people and citizens.