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!