by Kerrie Subritzky
I’ve just returned from the reopening of the Blockhouse Bay School’s historic building. I was driving back feeling full to bursting with the great vibes from being part of our wonderful community. The event itself was well executed and meaningful, and the building renovation rather stunning. But more than that, it was the intergenerational connections I saw happening all around me, and in fact experienced myself.
Each guest at the ceremony was assigned an ambassador - pupils who are specially trained in leadership and who have an astonishing knowledge about the school, who act as guides to visitors, whether those be 4-year-olds coming for a visit or to guests like today’s event. My guide, Arden, was just six years old and her maturity astounded me. I found it incredibly special to observe the interaction between people in such divergent life stages, each learning from the other.
Though I haven’t spoken of it in a while, the place of seniors in our society is of great interest to me, especially as it relates to passing on their knowledge, memories, and most of all, wisdom. Unfortunately, in our Western culture old age is feared rather than revered, and though we have a large aging population, we have very few ‘Elders’.
I believe much of this has to do with the separation of the generations, with the elderly living apart from extended family. Without regular, organic inter-generational contact, there is little hope of wisdom, knowledge and temperance being passed on and society becomes the domain of the young and (dare I say it) often foolish.
As a society, we desperately need our old people to be important to us, not just to be ‘looked after’. And their well-being depends on that too – being genuinely needed. I was really moved to witness the genuine awe and respect coming from both young and old as they chatted together today, each impressed by the other.
There’s plenty going on in our community, and we love bringing these stories to you. Auckland is a wonderful and diverse city, and we live in a very special part of it. This month we’ve reached out further afield and now welcome readers from Green Bay, New Lynn and Avondale to our pages. We hope you enjoy our community paper. Watch out for more stories from your neighbourhood. If you’d like to share something with us, drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org.