The consequence of our emphasis on education within school institutions that have developed over the years turns out to be an ostracism or "a banishment of children from the world of adults," let alone that of the oldest adults. (Hannah Arendt).
On the other hand our perception of older adults as people on the path to marked physical and mental deteriorating conditions steer all generations away from much involvement with the oldest generations.
Our society has succeeded in the actual separation of generations both from a physical standpoint and one where social engagement becomes next to impossible.
School teachers are primarily the only members of the adult society who deal with children. And health care givers are the younger adults who casually deal with older adults. In both cases the relationships with other generations are virtually absent.
Although Shorewood has what might be considered to be the type of normal age distribution found in small towns of rural-like states, even the smallest intergeneration activity likely to occur in small towns cannot be found in suburbs such as ours.
Shorewood's urban character appears to operate against intergenerational activity even more that in some city neighborhoods.
Given this background, if we here in Shorewood are to work more toward intergenerational activity, we need to find the methods or vehicles for achieving these goals both in the short and long run.
I believe that this can best be done at first by the close interaction of those involved in the carrying out of services for older adults together with those in our community's school system. Even the school facilities can become the physical basis and location point and source for much of this interaction.
I would suggest that we establish an Academy for the purpose of implementing integration among people of all ages and go from there. This concept should encourage the development of many ideas, which I of course would like to hear about.
So simply what is being said here is, let's develop some programs within the school system that will bring older adults together with school children on a rather regular social basis.
Early this Fall, I experienced a grandfather overseeing his very young grand-daughter while she was fishing from the pier on a small lake,.
I asked as I boated by, “has she caught any?”
He said proudly, " yes, she had caught 'some pretty good ones'.”