Reach across the ages. You never know what might happen.
The Intergenerational Foundation launched Intergeneration Month, held each September, to connect generations and to prompt folks from varying age groups to befriend and learn from each other. Intergeneration Month is endorsed by such groups as the American Library Association and American Association of Museums.
Intergeneration Month - History
Expanded to a month
Intergeneration Day was expanded to Intergeneration Month, now held each September.
October 1, 2000
Intergeneration Day launched
The Foundation Institute (now call the Intergenerational Foundation) launched Intergeneration Day on the first Sunday of October.
August 4, 1997
A good, long life
Frenchwoman Jean Calment passed away at the age of 122 years and 165 days. She's widely believed to have had the longest lifespan of any person in history.
How to Observe Intergeneration Month
1. Visit or volunteer at a retirement home
As we get older, we become less mobile and thus more isolated. Call your local rest or retirement home and find out if there are ways you can connect with elderly residents through volunteering or just offering friendship.
2. Join a Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program
Kids say the darndest things, but they can also teach us some things. Big Brothers programs offer opportunities to connect with younger generations while helping at-risk kids navigate the tricky territory of their lives. This also might land you a lifelong friend.
3. Call your mother or grandmother
If you're lucky enough to have parents or grandparents still alive, make it a point to connect and communicate them with more frequently. Offer to cook them dinner or to step out with them for a glass of wine. Don't take them for granted.
5 Ways To Reach Across Generations
1. Compromise on communications methods
Older generations tend to value face-to-face communication while millennials prefer text or instant messaging. In order for successful communication to happen both sides need to make compromises about how they'll come together.
2. Start with an icebreaker
Especially in group settings, kick off conversations with icebreakers that approach talking about generational difference with a sense of humor.
3. Buy them a beer
Having conversations in social settings can be less intimidating — and a beer or two might decrease apprehension.
4. Drop your assumptions
Don't go into a conversation with someone from a different generation assuming the generalities of what you've read, especially from marketers. Allow the individual you're conversing with to share their story and their experiences without interjecting opinions.
5. Find a shared subject of interest or hobby
The more you know someone, the more ways you might discover to connect with them. Beneficial relationships are often based on shared interests.
Why Intergeneration Month is Important
A. Conversation equals learning
When we talk to each other we learn from each other. Intergeneration Month spurs conversations that can lead to a better understanding of history — as well as the challenges that may separate one generation from the next.
B. Bust the stereotypes
Marketers like to assign certain traits to different generations to help them think through strategies. While generalities may be helpful, they're not universal. Intergenerational conversations can help shatter assumptions and bring people of different ages together.
C. It leads to unlikely friendships
The events sponsored during Intergeneration Month spawn unlikely friendships because they bring people together who might not otherwise come in contact with each other. There are countless stories of unlikely friendships being established because of Intergeneration Month activities.