Intergenerational Friendships: Quilted Together

Did you find last week’s Generational Snapshot enlightening? While certainly not the whole picture, it provided us with a glimpse of some of the major influencers of the represented generations.  And from that we were able to consider briefly such things as, how the generation we are born into influences us and how our “generational” position is affected by and can affect our intergenerational interactions.

This “generational” knowledge can be a powerful tool. For example, it can serve as a jumping off point for better understanding, provide us with insight and clarity, enable better communication, and heighten our compassion toward those of other generational groups. In short, this information can be used to help us get beyond our differences.

Generational Yet Individual

However, as helpful as this knowledge is, we must take care! For it could be so easy to begin viewing people simply as the information from our Generational Snapshot – lumping all Traditionalists or Gen- Xers together into a single unit.

While helpful in many ways, this information does not preclude our need to learn about the individual – a uniquely designed image bearer of God.

As we work to move beyond the place of assumptions and judgments in our intergenerational relationships, we must remember that each person in our sphere is an individual. Each is, in fact, the member of a common generation (with attributes and behaviors that have been influenced by it), AND an individual with her own personality and preferences.

The QUILTING of Intergenerational Friendships

Thinking on this glorious God-design for intergenerational friendships, my mind conjures the image of a quilt – an item of warmth and protection crafted with unique design and color galore.

But quilts are far more than a physical item. Historically, they involve process.

Women living during the colonial period of the United States ordered their lives around weekly gatherings to design quilts for the community’s new brides. Did you see that? “They ordered their lives around.” This would indicate that they prioritized attendance at these quilting bees. Knowing the importance, they scheduled this time and made every effort to attend.

During the time they spent together creating quilts, the older women shared their lives. As they told their own stories (recounting the trials and the victories), answered a multitude of questions, and modeled daily living, they mentored. And the younger women in an atmosphere of kindness and safety, gained confidence and wisdom.

These colonial “quilting bees” provided STRONG intergenerational ties.

It turns out, the stitching of quilts provided a cherished object of warmth and protection for the new bride while “quilting” treasured bonds of intergenerational friendship.

Lesson from the Quilting Bees

Long gone are the days of quilting bees. How much faster and easier to buy a quilt, ready-made, through the benefits of advanced machinery and modern technology?

But might I be permitted to pose a question? While we are reaping the benefits of our time in being able to simply walk into a store or press a button on our device when we want to purchase a physical item, what benefits are we losing out on in the loss of the process?

Where are our opportunities to build those STRONG intergenerational ties that were built during quilting bees? I’d love to hear your ideas!

9 comments on “Intergenerational Friendships: Quilted Together

  1. Quilting Bee! Wow! It’s been so long since I’ve done any quilting. That’s a great way to create intergenerational friendships—lifelong ones at that. What great memories you brought back, Deborah. Thanks! I enjoyed this post as much as last week’s. ????

    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

  2. In my early 20s, I had several 55+ ‘other mothers’ adopt me, and I loved it. After work, i could be found in one of those ladies homes, swimming, or Decluttering, or decorating something. Often having dinner and chatting about life. 15 years later, married and with kids, I’m still close to a couple of them.

    My goal is to replicate that into the future!

  3. For me it’s been ministry! Serving alongside women who are older and younger has been the glue (or maybe, in this case, the stitching?) that has held us together.

  4. Growing up, my dad didn’t like having a TV in the house, he felt that the family stopped talking and sharing with each other, He really encouraged us to play games, as a family, instead of watching TV. He always let us “help” him with any project he was working on, He then had the grandchildren “help” him. He was a very wise man.

    • That’s funny. I have 3 of my grandchildren with me today, and we’ve spent the afternoon enjoying a board game tournament. Everyone got to choose a game for us to play.

  5. Hospitality, grandma dates, cooking together for holiday meals, start a “club” through the church or other organization to share ideas on topics such as gardening, cooking, nutrition, baking, parenting, etc.

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