by Shauna Dorko –
We’ve all noticed a special bond between children and seniors, despite the difference in years. The young and old are inexplicably drawn to each other.
Perhaps it is the vast age difference that contributes to the connection? Children are naturally curious and love to hear stories in any shape or form. And who are the best storytellers around? Well, seniors, of course.
The fact that seniors have 65+ years under their belts means they have probably witnessed a few things that would seem pretty incredible to kids. For instance, advances in technology – the reality that some seniors didn’t grow up with even a TV, let alone the virtual non-existence of computers, tablets and cell phones, seems unfathomable to kids today. How could seniors as children possibly get by in life without these “lifeline” electronics?
So, their radically different childhoods often make seniors seem pretty cool, and children want to hear their outlandish tales from “the olden days” when kids amused themselves by playing antiquated games like hopscotch and hide-and-go-seek, building forts and treehouses, and catching bugs and other small creatures. What’s even cooler is that some of these seniors are real-life heroes, from a time when the world was besieged with war, The Great Depression and other scary atrocities.
Seniors love children with no conditions or judgement. Because they are not traditionally their primary caregivers, they are able to love at a healthier distance, free from the day-to-day challenges that parents experience with their youngsters. Seniors often have more patience, resulting in good quality visits due to the shorter duration. Time with grandparents typically lacks the structure that parents enforce, and kids are overindulged with treats, toys and other gifts, and later bedtimes. What’s not to love about that?
When we look at the benefits seniors receive from their exchanges with children, the positive results impact seniors on multiple levels. Retirement can often mean less social time for the elderly; some have lost their spouses; many are less active or even physically challenged and housebound. This more sedentary lifestyle can lead to loneliness and depression. Social interaction is critical to the overall well-being of seniors, and children can be great company. Kids are always up for a game of checkers or cards; they can be great little helpers, a rapt audience and trusted confidants. Their innocence and lack of experience equate to a non-judgemental honesty, free from deceit and hypocrisy which seniors appreciate.
There’s no doubt about it … kids and seniors are intrinsically linked, just like summer and ice cream. Their connection is deep, heartfelt and one we can all learn from.
Written in collaboration with Sherrin Griffin. We welcome all comments, suggestions and ideas for future columns. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Seniors” in the subject line.