Bridging the Generational Gap Through Sports
We all long to feel connected, and one of the most important connections for our emotional (and physical) health is inter-generational connections. It has been shown that both younger and older generations benefit from a strong sense of connection with the other. The elderly are buoyed by the energy of younger folks, and children feel more grounded. Importantly, the younger generation also develops a better vision for what aging entails.
There are as many ways to make connections between the generations as there are people, but one overlooked way may be through sports. Many younger children play sports and consequently may like to follow college or professional sports. If the grandparent is willing to spend some time to learn about the child’s favorite team, then there can be a natural connection made that will enhance the bond. This is especially worthwhile when distance separates families.
Sports as Glue
Sometimes grandparents have already been following teams or sports throughout their lives. They then could have the joy of introducing their grandchildren to those teams and relate first-hand stories of the excitement and passion they have. Imagine everyone rooting for the same teams throughout the ups and downs of the season!
For sports-minded families, a good idea may be to look outside the big four sports typically followed in America and consider something like soccer, golf, tennis, or rugby. All these sports have a strong international presence, and learning about how different leagues are run, how players are managed, awards, etc., can be very educational and engaging.
Most sports have special tournaments in which international players participate. For example, golf in America has four special events every year in which players from all over the world participate (and often win!). How exciting it would be if grandparent and grandchild could attend one of these events together. It would be a great opportunity to share a once in a lifetime moment.
But not every family has the means to do something so extravagant. The internet provides an excellent way to connect in an entertaining way. Special events are hosted on Facebook now, and many stars share their lives on social media. Fans connect with one another over their shared passion for these stars. Educating a grandparent on the use of these platforms can provide the younger generation with a means of connection.
Of course, not everyone likes sports (hard for sports fans to believe!). Other great ways of connecting may be through cooking (Great British Baking Show anyone?). Sharing recipes, baking for special events or to bless other folks can be a great bonding experience. Other ideas include music, book clubs, or even video games. As technology advances, there will be more and more ways to connect the younger generation with the old, regardless of distance.
The important point is to actively look for ways to bond the generations together. We need each other, and we will live healthier lives when we find appropriate, fun ways to connect.