“If we accept the premise that the diversity of perspectives found in generations will enrich not only the conversations but the knowledge and wisdom that can emerge from those conversations, then exploring multi-generational dialogue as a contributor to social change is in order.” ~ John Inman, from Social Change Through Multi-Generational Dialogue
I appreciate Inman’s use of “multi-generational” here. It is all-inclusive, branching out to Millennials and Baby Boomers, and extending to all others. The important exploration that he calls for has already begun. It has been happening for at least 10 years, beginning with the multi-generational conversation series in the World Café community, followed by Kosmos Journal article Connecting Our Conversations — Becoming Wiser Together.
I feel especially blessed by such conversations. When sharing with other generations, I become electrified—animated and vibrating with creative impulse. No wonder I cherish their friendships!
My friends are “post-conventional” in several senses. They neither need power over others, nor accept power exercised over themselves. Their lives are not tied to one profession; they enjoy playing multiple roles in various collaborative plays. They not only talk about change and transformation, but I can feel how much they are being in the midst of it, personally.
With older friends, people of my own generation, I enjoy a camaraderie spiced by similar experiences and shared cultural icons from decades gone. We find delight in looking at what it is through the lens of what it can become. When we listen intently and generously, we can hear the voices of our descendants: kids and adults of future generations. They are asking us to choose our actions wisely today, and to attune with what the young ones have to share.
Another delight in connecting with some of my Baby Boomer peers arises when behind seemingly disjoint, chaotic phenomena we see elegant dynamic systems at work. (For example, the jockeying of politicians for and against Brexit, and the laws governing complex adaptive social systems, which assures that if they fail to adapt, they will break apart.) Yet another shared experience with some of my peers is that our “now” frequently expands from this minute, to include this season and century. Our sense of social space is sharpened: seen from a higher trajectory, the patterns that connect and breathe life into the web of our relationships are splendid.
With my Millennial friends, it’s a different story. When I meet them in person or mediated by the Cloud, the perfume of their enthusiasm evokes a fragrant resonance with the part in me that is still young, the part that can still fire on all cylinders when necessary.
I’m in awe of the radical freshness of how Chris, Mieke, and others of their generation respond to the challenges and opportunities thrown at them by life. Often their response is new and unpredictable. It inspires me to sense, think, and act in ways I haven’t before.
I celebrate the ecstatic emergence of the new wave of young humans who carry with them potent seeds of wisdom, and courage to act from that wisdom. Our mutual power is rooted in our insatiable hunger for mutual learning across generations. “Co-evolution” is the name of the game, and we keep getting better at it.
From Millennials to Boomers and beyond, we are fortunate to live in a time when humankind may complete its pre-history and accelerate its move towards collective sentience.
But shall our collective will prioritize planetary evolution over devolution? Between those diametrical possibilities is the space in which multiple generations can meet and learn from and with each other. Here, we dance the dance of mutual empowerment. Here, we determine the future of our world.
I await you in that space. If it appeals to you, why not brighten it with your presence, and share both what you appreciate in people of other generations, and what you would like to experience more from them?