Connecting with younger generations may seem exhausting and unlikely. With such different upbringings and ways of life, perhaps you struggle to believe that you can actually have a lot in common with them. As goes with any type of relationship, finding common ground is a great place to start.
Ask yourself – What am I passionate about? How can I connect with others who have the same interests?
For a handful of people in my family, they find that their religion and faith are at the top of their priority list, and they manifest this interest through volunteer work. While you can find my nana alone in the church office doing paperwork once a week, her real idea of giving back to her religious institution is a more hands-on, personal approach.
A number of the ways my family members get involved allows them to interact with a younger generation who has the same belief system as they do. Since they have an established ground of similar viewpoints, this provides a foreground for them to create conversation and build relationships.
Over the years, they’ve conducted weekly bible studies, lead and traveled with youth groups, and taught religious education classes, such as CCD. By teaching others about their shared religion, they feel like they’re doing their part to pass on their beliefs to eager listeners.
After passing on their knowledge and wisdom, they enjoy the conversation that sparks and the different perspective they hear from people of all ages. All of their experiences have helped them gain an appreciation for the younger generation and their thoughts, and youth enjoy hearing the perspectives of adults with experience.
Before transferring to Penn State, I attended Pepperdine University, which has a religious affiliation. One of the ways that the school encouraged students to become more spiritual was through song. Every Wednesday morning at sunrise on Zuma Beach, students gathered to sing worship songs to the background of an acoustic guitar, before joining in a group surf session. The school definitely used its Malibu location to its advantage!
When I shared this practice with my family, they were quite intrigued. They never experienced anything like it, and I could tell they found it to be a brilliant way to engage students. While you may begin communicating with younger generations with the intent of teaching them, you never know what you may learn from them in the process.
The way people practice and believe in their chosen religion can differ depending on the person, family, or institution. Don’t be hesitant to ask younger generations about how they practice – you might just discover something you find fascinating.
Depending on your religion, there are many different ways to go about connecting with like-minded individuals of all ages. If you are affiliated with a specific institution, talk with them to find out ways that you can contribute while interacting with others.
Perhaps you’re not affiliated with any specific religion or don’t have any religious beliefs at all. First, I give you credit for reading thus far, and second, I encourage you to loop back to the questions I ask in the beginning of the article.
Discover your passion, and then get connected with others who share it. Teach each other, learn from each other, and realize how rewarding this interaction can be – that’s really all it boils down to.
If you need any help finding specific ways to connect with younger generations through religion or other sources, Ask A Pup – we’re happy to facilitate the process!
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