September is a month dedicated to the celebration of many wonderful aspects of life. One of the most important to me is intergenerational relationships. Those relationships we develop first within our families: First and foremost is the relationship between parents and children. Then there is the extended family of aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Then as we move out into life we meet others, perhaps teachers who become mentors and work associates who may be much older who have a powerful impact on our lives.
September is the month that has been designated as the time to intentionally connect with these different age-related groups that are so important to our lives. It is also the month in which we celebrate Grandparents Day on the first Sunday of the month. Those two celebrations go hand-in-hand.. The purpose of the of Grandparents Day, is “to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children become aware of the strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.”
The Beginning Of Intergenerational Celebration
The concept of celebrating intergenerational relationships in a formal way came about in 1987 when Fountain Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, with a Board of Trustees, was formed by Sandy Kraemer, a Colorado Springs attorney, to research intergenerational issues. The resulting research identified the need to set aside a time each year to focus on intentionally connecting generations to better communicate age-related gratitude and needs. With that in mind a day was selected in which to celebrate this intergenerational relationship. However, over time, it became clear that more time was needed to fully connect all ages, it was decided that one day wasn’t enough. Subsequently the entire month of September was designated at Intergenerational Month.
A Well-Known Intergenerational Relationship
One of the best examples of a powerful intergenerational relationship comes from the movie and book written by Mitch Albom called, Tuesdays With Morrie. In the book, Morrie Schwartz was one of Albom’s college professors. When Albom was a young college student, Professor Schwartz helped him see the world from a more profound perspective and gave him sound advice to help him make his way through tough college years. Twenty years later, Albom rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final “class”: lessons in how to live.
As a plastic surgeon I am privileged to help people improve their self-confidence through a variety of corrective and cosmetic procedures. As more and more people are embracing healthy lifestyles, diets and non-surgical procedures to keep the signs of aging at bay, we could be moving toward a future in which it becomes more and more difficult to identify age differences. The importance of intergenerational relationships may become even more exciting as we halt the aging process and are able to pass on the information that helps individuals accomplish that.
So, as we move through National Self Improvement month, I ask is there something in your life that you want to improve? What better time to start a change in your life than now during National Self-Improvement Month! Is there a new, healthy lifestyle change you would like to initiate? Whatever it is you would like to accomplish, as we all know, the only way to get started is to take the first step.