Bridging the Intergenerational Gap

 NORTHAMPTON - On January 30th 2012 a diverse group of Northampton High school students sat down with twenty senior citizens from the Five College Learning and Retirement Organization to explore the vast societal differences impacting their teen years.

     The program "In Their Own Voices: The lives of Today's Teens an Intergenerational Panel Discussion" created an open dialogue between students and senior citizen, encouraging students and seniors to connect with each other on an intellectual level. The panel helped senior citizens understand how the usage technology and societal awareness effects teens now more than ever.

This discussion showcased how the social revolutions that occurred during the senior citizens youth allowed today's teens to experience a diverse education. "I think one of things lacking in our education in the high school is that we don't get a lot of hands on discussion like this," stated Sam Coates-Finke, a current Northampton High School Senior. "We talk about issues on a theoretical level".

The panel's hands-on approach provided today's youth to gain the perspectives of the older generation and  to acknowledge how the lives of teens have changed from one generation to the next. Jim Harvey, a moderator at the discussion, stated "thinking about the enormous difference in the universe that we experienced as teenagers than Sam's generation is experiencing I think is astonishing…yet we were able to find a common ground." This discussion allowed students to engage with senior citizens, to come together to talk about the issues surrounding adolescence in a positive and respective way.

Photo courtesy dok1 via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.