Weaving Time: A Call for Intergenerational Council by Michelle Katz
In preparation for Oaks Counsel’s upcoming Day Quest, I have been finding myself acutely attuned to the generations a call for bringing the dialogue together.
This week began with me sitting in council with teenagers, asking them the question of what it is like to be a teenager today? I began the council practice to provide a model for sharing from the heart in this way. I recalled being a teenager in my time, 16 years and 1 month ago, to the day of that circle, was 9/11, and I remembered being my teenage self, hearing the news of attacks on American soil. I recalled feeling that an experience of safety had somehow left me. Just a couple years after that, still in my teenage years, I recalled the college my brother attended having a shooter on campus. Again, my feelings of safety were challenged. On top of this, I recalled how unseen I felt as a teenager, how I felt my parents continually saw me as something I was not, and how I struggled with asserting my Self and exploring my independence. I recalled the internal conflicts I faced when it came to my peers; never quiet fitting in and feeling the difficulty of “group think”, I often found myself alone in the hallway at lunch, with my sandwich and a good book. I recalled the adults that really supported me through this time, the mentors and allies I felt connection with, the teachers and parents of friends, without whom I am not sure where I would be.
I passed the talking piece on. And the thread between us began to weave. As we all held the theme of isolation and loneliness in these years. And we all had our stories of struggle and growing pains. The teens spoke about gratitudes and hardships. Of finding the delicate balance in figuring out how to care for others while developing and independent sense of self. Of finding pockets of acceptance and yet knowing a feeling of discrimination.
I was left in the question of how do we come to know ourselves in this time and how can we best support our teens through such vital passages in a way that ensures they feel more empowered and important to this world?
Later in the week, I found myself in an unexpected council with an elder. We spoke about changes in career, success and loses, struggles with family and ways to practice better loving communication with great conscious effort and work, she spoke about seeing the world, and living through life-threatening illnesses, hope and love and adventure, failures and lessons and successes, letting go and taking things on, starting anew again and again.
Again I found myself in the questions and resting in someone knowing as well, how do we come to know ourselves in this time and how can we best support our elders through such vital passages in a way that ensures they feel more empowered and important to this world?
I hold these two stories in my heart this week. Feeling the calling inside of me, the urge to bring all the generations together to talk and learn and call on each other in a life-giving way. I hear the story of generations that feel unheard and unseen, that don’t know what they can or have to offer at certain points in their life. The answer is clear to me; each generation offers so much! These conversations are rich from teens, elders, and all those in-between. Let us lean into listening to each other.
Join Oaks Counsel on October 29th for an Intergenerational Council Day Quest. Let us hear from you, you teens and young adults, you elders and olders who know so much, when we live in an ever changing world of uncertainty. Let us turn to those that hold an important perspective of history and to those that call us into what is to come!