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Community - Old and Young

old people 4 year old

Erin encouraged Anna and I to watch a new reality TV program that runs on the ABC on Tuesday nights (also streaming online at ABC iview). As a rule, I’m not that keen on reality TV, but we gave it a go.

What a great show! It had complex characters, drama, and suspense. We laughed, we cried, and were constantly wondering what would happen next. Watch it: ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’.

A local preschool takes a class of 4 year olds to an Aged Care Facility over six weeks and run their curriculum with the assistance of residents – whose ages range from 75 to 95. 

As trust is built and relationships grow, everyone benefits. The 4 year olds learn, not only about numbers, letters and kookaburras, but also about life, ageing, tolerance, and practical respect. The residents, for their part, are relentlessly challenged relationally, physically, and mentally. Muscles are strengthened, moods lift, and smiles return to faces that seem frozen in a frown. It’s inspiring stuff.

What disturbs me, though, is that it is all so basic. 4 year olds spending time with seniors is what we used to call ‘community’. It’s what we were made for. And somehow, in the last 50 to 100 years, Western society has isolated the age demographics so that everyone can have things just the way they like it. But it’s not good for us. We lose community. We stop learning from each other and loving each other, whatever our age.

Church must be different – a place where everyone BELONGs and finds their place in the Family of God.