Contributed by David Young
Several CARP staff members have been involved with Project Phoenix, an initiative to create intergenerational partnerships. Even though CARP is a student organization, it has become apparent that its success is dependent on the support of young professionals, graduates, parents, and advisors. Thus, it makes sense that CARP would support the aims of Project Phoenix.
Over the summer, the Phoenix Summit gathered 55 participants from younger and older generations to experience the power of partnership, communication, and innovation. They shared their experiences, prayed with each other, and interacted in activities over the weekend to foster understanding and appreciation of each other.
Honoring the Generations
One session titled, “Honoring the Generations” was especially meaningful. Each group described attributes of the other and also brainstormed what they wished the other generation understood better about them. After completing this exercise, the groups reconvened to share their responses. Several individuals also shared their unique perspective.
As a member of the younger generation, it was a gift to experience such profound humanity from the older generation and to be heard, understood, and accepted. This level of vulnerability developed a sense of trust, a critical element in any successful intergenerational relationship.
The Phoenix Summit allowed young people to connect to the wisdom and experience of leaders in business, religion, and non-profit. It was especially exciting for current CARP members to connect with CARP alumni who pioneered CARP in the past. By understanding each other, we can benefit from our combined experiences.
In the past few years, CARP has noticed that chapters which collaborate with graduates and parents are more successful. The most successful and largest chapters, CARP Las Vegas and CARP Los Angeles, have strong connections between students and those older than them. By modeling the structure of the family, there are more opportunities for growth and development.
Balancing Independence with Understanding
Although it’s natural for young people to develop their own independence when they venture off into college, it is also a chance to become a real adult. That means to develop adult relationships with others, including one’s parents. This requires a mature level of appreciation and understanding. By understanding other adults, we can gain new perspective on our parents, too.
College is an opportunity to grow, learn, and expand our understanding. There’s so much more growth that’s possible beyond the academic side. To grow into holistic individuals ready for the world, we also need to develop our spiritual, emotional, and physical selves. Father Moon would encourage people to learn how to love a grandmother from a different race, as a way to foster understanding, peace, and love among all of humankind.
What can YOU do to better your relationship with someone from a different generation? We encourage you to discover something new.
To find out more, send an email with the subject line, ‘how can I get involved?’ to firstname.lastname@example.org