It’s easy to find articles on the differences among baby boomers, Gen X, millennials and Gen Z. By now it’s old hat to reduce someone’s entire personality to the decade or so in which they were born. Sure, we have tendencies based on our collective formative experiences, but we are also individually whole and complex people who deserve to be known as such.
In this issue we’ve collected several articles that reflect on the challenges and gifts of intergenerational relationships. These gifts can only be found when we put aside what we think we know about a person based on their age and take the time to learn about them as the unique person they are.
Surely, we’ll run into stereotypical aspects of each other. But even if these are frustrating at times, our love and respect for one another can bridge those gaps.
An important intergenerational event I get to experience is when Nata’s parents come and stay with us. When we began our marriage, we had some decisions to make. One of the biggest was where we would live. We have always hoped that someday we could live in Argentina, where he is from. But, newly married, we weren’t ready to do so, and we decided to move to Goshen, Ind., which was close to my family.
Our logic was that for as long as we could, we would try to be close to at least one side of our family. That choice has played a large part in defining the past 10 years of our lives. And while we can count endless blessings from being close to my parents and family, we also often find ourselves missing our family in Argentina.
That’s why we are lucky to have them visit. We treasure these times and consider them a vital part of strengthening our son’s connection to Nata’s side of the family. When they stay with us, we usually get three months’ worth of precious intergenerational bonding.
(I know that might sound like a lot of time with your in-laws. But trust me, if you had my in-laws, you’d want them to move in with you as well.)
My son won’t remember all the moments he’s had with grandparents. But as he grows and asks more questions, we can point to some of his favorite things and say, “Abuelo made that tree house for you!” and “Abuela made the awesome birthday cake!”
Because they make the effort to visit — despite the distance and logistical challenges — their love, knowledge and faith enrich our lives.
I hope you can name the treasures you’ve received through relationships stretching across generations. And I hope this issue provides inspiration