The time for intergenerational mentoring is now.
When Gen Z began to reach the legal age for adulthood in 2017, it became the first time in history that we have five generations in our churches. We have The Silent Generation/Traditionalists (born before 1946), Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y or Millennials, and now Gen Z (those born after 1996).
Each generation has a different set of skills, ideas and goals. What an opportunity as each generation has something unique to offer to the others and creating environments for intergenerational mentoring is the answer. Mentoring is not just a good idea but essential.
In the last four years, I have lived and worked with young adults and know firsthand of their longing to have an older generation speaking into their lives. They seem to be skipping over their parents’ generation and seeking wisdom from those more like grandparents. Having young and the old learning from each other, enjoying and assisting one another creates an interaction that goes a long way to not only overcoming the social isolation felt by both generations but the reciprocal learning that takes place.
In a study by The MacArthur Foundation, they noted two common conditions that are closely aligned with successful ageing. These are:
When we engage in mentoring those younger, we can achieve both of these.
I’m a Boomer, and we are retiring in waves right now. Within our churches, many of us are looking for substance and meaning in this new season. So, what is keeping us from stepping into a mentoring role? Let me share three reasons and then suggestions of what one can do to start building a mentoring relationship with younger adults.
If you would like to reach out and build a relationship with a young adult or teenager, here are four suggestions that have proved to be effective.
Let me encourage you to make space in your life to engage and care for young adults. The value of having another adult in their lives is such a blessing.