Today we honor the life, and death, of my husband’s grandfather. Father of five, war veteran, husband of 70+ years, this man offered so much to his family in every stage of his life. Now that he is gone, we all feel something is missing. Maybe this sounds familiar to you. Perhaps there is an elder in your life that you could take a moment to connect with. Trust me – the benefits are mutual, and plentiful.
At Story Bridges we hold the power of diversity within storytelling as a key component to successfully healing and transforming communities. One area in particular that is again and again highlighted as being crucial in this process is that of intergenerational exchange.
Recently I read the book Pushing Upward by Andrea Adler. The book takes us through one epic year in the life of 21-year old Sandra Billings. While trying to eke out a living as an actress in L.A., she discovers the I Ching, the ancient Chinese oracle, and uses it as a GPS to navigate a torrid love affair, battle with demons of the past, and search for meaning and truth. Her journey does not happen alone, but is deeply interwoven and accelerated by her meeting and befriending an elderly, wise and mysterious woman.
Pushing Upward creates one more wonderful example of how intergenerational relationships and storytelling can teach, support and unite us on our own paths to greater meaning and truth. As author Andrea Adler says, “Our society has so little respect for the elderly, when in fact they can be one of our greatest resources. Their love, understanding and wisdom can save lives.”
We agree! Some of the benefits of intergenerational dialogue that we see in our programs are: promoting self-understanding, transcending physical limitations, increasing self-worth, alleviating depression, and helping deal with crises, loss and life transitions.
Andrea Adler is an international speaker and workshop presenter. Pushing Upward is her breakout novel. For more info you can visit the website www.pushingUPward.com.