Each generation will announce to the next your wonderful and powerful deeds. (CEV) Psalm 145:4
Have you ever heard your child say something like, “I don’t know any of the old people in my church”? Or have you heard older folks say, “I don’t know any of the children or teenagers in my church”? Think about yourself; do you fit into either of those narratives? Do you know any of the older folks in your community? Do you know any of the kids and teens? Psalm 145 gives us a picture of intergenerational harmony and unity. But what does it look like practically for us to be in an intergenerational community?
It means to burst the “bubble” mentality, to step out of the comfortable and familiar. That is not easy. My wife and I love connecting with couples our own age who have kids the same ages as ours. Yet, there is a reward when we step outside our homogeneous bubbles.
One moment sticks out to me when somebody stepped out of their bubble—it wasn’t at church, and it wasn’t even me. My wife and I had been hiking in the mountains all day with our one-year old son, and it was time for dinner. We made our way into the quaint small town that nestled in the valley of the mountains. All day our little boy had ridden so well as we hiked the trails, but as we sat down to eat at a local eatery, it seemed like our son grew five more arms and legs. He squirmed and wormed as we tried to order food. After passing him back and forth, we felt worn out and almost decided to leave without eating a bite.
It was at that moment an older woman slowly approached our table and tapped on my wife’s shoulder. Our first thought was “Oh great! This lady is going to complain about our son.” But we were wrong. The woman asked if she could hold our baby for us so we could enjoy our meal. As we picked our jaws up off the floor, we gratefully accepted her offer and handed our son over to this lady we’d never met before. As my wife and I ate our meal, we watched as this woman carried our son around the restaurant, showing him stuff, and even dancing with him on the stage with a band playing live music.
The restaurant lady stepped into our bubble. This older woman saw our frustration. She knew how to calm a child, and through her, God gave us a few minutes of rest. What a vision of God’s kingdom when we work together with one another—no matter age. And that’s the beauty of the church. The church is a place where young and old come together for one purpose, to worship our one true King.
Let’s tap into this beauty in front of us. Maybe there’s a young family that would appreciate an encouraging word or an occasional helping hand. Or maybe you’re a young parent, and there’s an older couple in your community or church with whom you can build a relationship and let the Holy Spirit work!
Want to do a deep dive? Check out Family Fire's article Multi-Generational Mentoring.