NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — To help bridge generations, Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation’s “Bridging the Gap” social media campaign surveyed seniors and youth at their community centers to offer one another advice.
“I found it amazing. And we can learn things from these children today. My grandkids, if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to answer my phone half the time,” said Beverly Woodlee, 69, a Bridging the Gap participant. “We can learn from the children as well as they have learned from us.”
Beginning in November, frequent visitors to Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation Community Centers across the city were asked to offer advice to the other age group.
“I think the really beautiful thing about this campaign is that it brings the generations together. It brings the older people together with the younger generations and even bridges the gap between them,” said 71-year-old Bridging the Gap participant Maureen Laubach. “The greatest joy I have is when I swim there and do my laps. There could be a kid trying to swim or just… starting to swim. And when I’m done, I always get out and say, ‘You did a good job.'”
During the campaign on social media, Laubach advised children to stay active.
“I’ve learned that the more active you are, the easier it is to age. you just feel better You meet people when you’re here by the pool, working, or just walking through. And I think I’ve also seen a lot of people withdraw and sit at home and do nothing. But you really need to stay active and keep your mind active,” Laubach said.
Woodlee said children should encourage themselves “not to follow in the footsteps of others.”
The children’s responses were sweet and also factual.
Seven-year-old Lala Clark said seniors should stay active.
“So instead of still running, you can just walk and learn how to do a little jog and yoga and stretching and just get your body moving,” she said. “If you don’t stretch, you can tear or break a muscle and it won’t feel good. It will be kinda difficult to walk a bit. So we need to stretch.”
Six-year-old Ava Schwarz said they should do what they love.
“If you do what you love, then you love what you do,” Schwarz explained.
Ten-year-old Brayden Boyd encouraged seniors to remember that “younger people are different from older people” and that “they can’t do the things they used to do” but “don’t listen to what other people say, just because you’re different… be yourself.”
Seven-year-old Kori Dennrad took a self-care approach, encouraging seniors to take a day for themselves.
“[They] I probably want to have something like a massage or all that other stuff,” Dennrad said. “[I] just wanted them to have fun exploring themselves. Just give yourself a fancy nice break and keep her smiling the whole time.”
The seniors who participated said the counseling exercise encouraged them.
“We have so much that we have to start teaching our kids to get through it. You have to get through it. And we need to sit down and talk to the kids today,” Woodlee said. “I learned from the children and we can learn a lot from them.”
Not only do they say there is much to learn, they also feel that relationships need to be built.
“I don’t think there is the breakup that you all think there is. I really don’t think so. I think we’re all human and we’re all brought here for a reason,” said Laubach.
For more advice from youth and seniors, visit the Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation Facebook page.