by Meyer Moldeven (public domain)
ideas, models, stories and memoirs to encourage intergenerational outreach and communication
There are more than 60 million grandparents in the United States and their numbers are increasing as a portion of the general population.
Enormous changes have taken place in longevity and lifestyles since today's older adults were, themselves, young grandchildren. Experts estimate that there are thirty to fifty thousand living centenarians, up
from the 1980 estimate of fifteen thousand. Also, centenarians are not as feeble as they once were; disability rates among older people have been falling since the early 1980s.
Life expectancy at birth in the United States has increased nearly 30 years since the turn of the century, from 47 to about 76. On the other hand, families are more widely dispersed, successful interaction by
grandparents with their distant grandchildren, whether for geographic reasons or barriers of circumstance, increasingly calls for innovation and improvisation.
A vast store of practical knowledge as well as a culture's lore languishes in almost every family, especially among its elders, more than ready to be passed along to succeeding generations. An important source for ideas and models for grandparents to meet the needs-and the yearnings-of this era's grandchildren and children generally are in the observations and experiences of older adults. It is not up to our young grandchildren to
say what in our life's experiences might be useful or enlightening to them? If it was up to them, how might they draw it out of us? A paradox indeed.
This is not a child's storybook, although some of the stories, vignettes and essays may interest youth from toddlers to young adults and, from other perspectives, parents, grandparents, and teachers. The book's intent is to demonstrate one older lay person's approach to fostering interaction between generations in the context of family, school and culture.
Part One: We Learn from Each Other
Part Two: First Stories
Part Three: The Palm Tree Stories
Part Four: Reach for the Stars, Grandpa!
Part Five: Lore, Myths, and Memoirs