Building bridges between generations is perhaps the most important task we have as grandparents. We will be the connectors between our grandchildren and their family heritage. That means we must overcome any family issues and encourage communication.
Tips for Building Bridges Between Generations
Here are some ideas to build bridges between multiple generations attending a family reunion:
- Plan at least one or two activities that put elder attendees together with a younger family member. Have them team up for a game or do a family interview to share with the larger group. Get them talking to one another!
- Create large name tags with family connections included. Something like, “I’m Gwen, George’s grandmother.” Hand out colored stickers for age or family groups and have everyone add stickers to nametags as they meet people and discover family connections.
- Create a game of Old Ways, New Ways. Again, pair up different generations with the task of describing to one another how things were done the old way and how they’re done the new way. Remember pre-cell phone and computer days? There are lots of things that have changed in their function! Instead of complaining, make it a game with a younger family member. Encourage describing, not disparaging! It’s so tempting when we’re set in our ways, but disparaging and rejecting new ideas serves little purpose. Use the game as a way to build bridges and share some laughs.
- If you’re doing any of the above, don’t forget supplies! You’ll need to have paper, pens, stickers, a hat or basket to draw names for teams, and any number of other tools to make fun happen. Don’t let a good idea go to waste by not planning how and what is needed to accomplish your goals.
- When you’ve completed a couple of games or activities, have the emcee call on groups to share what they discovered while interacting with a member of a different generation. Help everyone see the benefits of multigenerational connections.
We need not fall prey to the social narrative of the generation gap. Family love is a powerful force and can overcome the differences that do exist between generations. Those differences are real, especially in a world where technology is developing as fast as it is in our time. But. We can still connect on the human level and be an encouragement and strength to one another. Build those connections purposefully and with intention.
What are your best tips for building bridges between generations at family gatherings?
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