Mentoring-Connecting The Old to The Young

This increase in life span and in the number of our senior citizens presents this nation with increased opportunities: the opportunity to draw upon their skills and sagacity- and the opportunity to provide the respect and recognition they have earned. It is not enough for a great nation merely to have added new years to life-our objective must also be to add new life to those years.

John F. Kennedy

Older people are well positioned to step into the role of a mentor, either complementing family relationships or providing important support where family structures are weak. They offer the emotional stability that improves with age, and the wisdom that grows as experience deepens. They have strategic communication skills and are motivated to contribute to the lives of future generations.

Older adults can help young people develop their talents and knowledge and can advise on relationships and daily life conflicts. The perspective that comes with age, and their focus on what matters, helps older adults to nurture development of social skills and sense of purpose among young people with whom they form meaningful relationships. And the benefits are not one-directional.

Research shows that pairing young and older people has positive consequences for each. In promoting the well-being of the next generation, older adults experience fulfillment and purpose in their own lives.

Photos credit to Stanford (Intergenerational Relationships – Stanford University)