Monday, 25 March 2013

Thoughts on Inter-Generational Play

I have recently started going to a new church. I'm not going to lie, I'm probably one of the youngest adults at this place but there's something slightly awesome about it. There's still energy at this church, and a love for one another that welcomes you to be part of, rather than having to search for it yourself.

Today, I went to visit one of my new friends from my church. Turns out he lives round the corner from me, and he's called Frank! He and his friend Joan made tea, and I brought hot cross buns with my Dad. It was really quite cool.

Amidst conversation, I had a gradual realisation why inter-generational play was so important, and why I, Zan, had never experienced it much myself. I was brought up by my parents who were the only members of their family in the UK. I didn't technically have any grandparents, nor did I have any super mature people to look up to. I had quite an old English tutor - Auntie Elaine - who, aside from scolding me for being bad, taught me English folklore and encouraged me to ask questions. But I never really spent much time with old people when I was a child.

After eating our hot cross buns and drinking tea, I reflected on some reasons why it is sooo important for children to spend time with old folk:

1) Children learn from the old folk - they have many stories to tell that somehow enrich your life, giving it extra depth and a sense of rooted history in your own life. When old folk share their stories, I feel a little bit like I'm now in a very important game of Chinese whispers where the ultimate goal is to pass on their wisdom to the next generation and beyond because soon, they too will be gone but their stories live forever.

2) Children breathe new life into old folk - being around children as a playworker always provides me with more energy and inspires me to do more things. I can imagine that having children around for old people must give them an extra zing and bounce to their lives, even if they're not always able to keep up. Children are a joy to be around, and old folk don't often get to experience it for themselves.

3) Old people are awesome - having spent about an hour with Frank and Joan today, I had to conclude that they were awesome. They have genuine interest in what I do, and are ever so pleased for me if it's going well, and then with a twinkle in their eye provide advice that is beyond my own understanding of the world, but heavy with their wisdom and age. They chuckle as they tell you about the cheeky things they did when they were children, and then as if my magic, for a brief moment, look like they're a kid themselves.

83/365 - Zan hangs out with two new friends.

I really enjoyed hanging out with Frank and Joan today, and I hope to be able to learn more from them, and the other folk, at my new church. I'm really happy to say that I think I found a church that I feel like I belong, and thank God that he's lead me to something so unexpected. Even if it is just for a little while :)

Hoorah for old folks, and hoorah for new realisations! Yay! :)

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