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Thursday, October 22, 2009

A few weeks ago, I visited the Minnesota birthplace of Life (Part 2) and received a happy lesson on Generation Gaps, which also happened to be the topic of the show airing on TPT, our producing station.

The round-table discussion on the show tended to emphasize the differences among Geezers, Boomers, Gen X'ers and Millennials, as a way, I hope, of promoting the need for sensitivity and understanding, particularly in the workplace. But it also could be taken as cautionary - different ages can equal clashing approaches and sensibilities.

Toward the end of the discussion, the panelists seemed to agree that people of different generations working together could be more than the sum of their parts if they contributed their special qualities, be it experience, energy, unbounded confidence, prudence, technological savvy, etc. in a group effort.

And then I got to see two snapshots of how that could work.

At TPT, in St. Paul, I finally got to meet, face-to-face, 28-year-old Nick Watts, the web producer who promotes and manages our online presence, from this wonderful site to Facebook and Twitter. We had been communicating entirely by e-mail. After the dire warnings of our Gap show guests, I wondered if Nick would be a stereotypical Millennial, self-centered, ethically-challenged, unable to look me in the eye when we met. Would he have any empathy for a codger host.

Turns out, Nick is a tall, handsome, genial musician (he plays bass in a band called "Mines") who looks you right in the eye and sees his enormous tech skills less as an end unto themselves than as tools to spread the word and the picture on the show. He immediately felt like a colleague. My only regret was that I couldn't get to his band's gig that night.

And that was because I was off to Minnetonka, outside Minneapolis, to a fund-raising party for the show at The Marsh, a lovely spa and wellness retreat. Our host was the owner, 75-year-old Ruth Stricker Dayton. I knew she was married to Bruce Dayton, 91, a leading businessman, art collector and philanthropist in the state. Would they be stereotypical Geezers, frozen in their ways, which could include a flinty old take on everything, including our show?

Turns out, Ruth, fit and beautiful, filled the room with her energy and enthusiasm. She has been dealing with lupus for 30 years, which has led her seeking nature into explorations of Eastern movement and medicine which inform the spa. She's a booster of the show, as is, and an obvious role model for Boomers.

This is no Yankelovich sampling, I admit, and maybe it's the air out there or two remarkable people, but I came away encouraged. We need all generations working on a project, even if not directly working together, to make something worthwhile happen.                

 

Comments

Hi Fran, thanks for your

Hi Fran, thanks for your comment! We tackle the housing issue in our episode titled "Should I Stay or Should I Go" and we cover mortality throughout the series but don't dedicate an episode to it directly. You bring up really important issues, keep up the great work!

More on multi-generational concerns

I hope LP2 comes to KQED soon. I've been writing (OK, it's a blog, but I'm old-school) on your issues since starting at True/Slant.com several months ago, and am enjoying the video glimpses. Two big issues I'm not sure you're covering: housing choices -- moving mom & dad or selves to smaller space, retirement community, assisted living or where? -- and facing mortality -- doing advance directives, confronting other important documents (POLST forms, specific issues directives, etc) and most importantly learning to talk about mortality so you can get over it's being about "dying" and understand it's all about Living. I've tackled these briefly and will surely be doing so more, soon. Maybe there's a way we could somehow both tackle them? Thanks for all the good stuff you're doing. - Fran

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