In pre-modern societies, elders drew on the insights and wisdom they had gained from their life experience to offer guidance and leadership to their communities—and particularly to the younger members.
While the notion of elderhood retreated in the 20th century as ‘retirement’ became the norm for old age, many elders today are committed to restoring and reinventing the concept of elderhood for their own lives and their own communities. Elders listen, support, assist, guide, create, initiate, and lead.
When you reflect on the decades ahead of you, what do you envision? The average life expectancy for men in the United States and Canada who are 60 years old is almost another 25 years. For women, it’s more than 25 years.
Does the potential to become and serve as an elder interest you?
Multi-generational Learning for Life invites you into five conversations with a small group of peers, with a facilitator, to explore what becoming and being an Elder could mean for you.
One participant in the program noted, “I loved the way that we could talk with each other openly, with trust and mutual respect. I felt cared for, heard, and appreciated.”
Another said, “I really value the opportunity to explore what being an elder means for me—and to hear what perspectives, insights, experiences, and questions other people had about elderhood.”
In this program we gather for conversation, on line, to inquire into what becoming and being an elder means to each of us. We explore the idea of elderhood and focus on the specifics of each participant’s enactment of being an elder.
In Richard Leider’s and David Shapiro’s book, Claiming Your Place at the Fire, elders exactly like the participants in this program explain:
“I’m at the end of who I was. But I’m at the beginning of who I might become. That’s exciting to me.”
This expression is the starting point for Multi-generational Learning for Life. “New elders are people who use the second half of life as an empty canvas, a blank page, a hunk of clay to be crafted on purpose.”
Marie de Hennezal, in her book, The Warmth of the Heart Prevents Your Body from Rusting, explains:
“This fifty-to-eighty age bracket is brand new. It is up to our generation to explore a new way of growing old… old age as an opportunity, a kind of liberation, with fewer cares and more time to devote themselves to what really interested them…with a greater openness. Old age can be a process of opening up, not closing down.”
“When you have grown old, newness always comes from the inside. A new sensibility, a kind of sensual perception, becomes keener with age and mysteriously increases while the body diminishes.”
For our Multi-generational Learning for Life conversations, we gather online via Zoom videochat once every 2 weeks, for five 90-minute conversations. Groups include 4-7 participants and a facilitator. We negotiate the meeting time with all participants so that everyone can take part in all five conversations.
An American study conducted over 23 years among six-hundred people showed that individuals who demonstrated a positive attitude at the start of the study lived on average seven years longer than their negative counterparts. Elders have constructed new meaning in their lives, and they bring a positive attitude to the ways in which they live this new meaning.
Do you want an opportunity to explore your elderhood, in small group conversations, with support from other elders who share a common question with you? If so, Multi-generational Learning for Life is where you can do with this—with humor, reflection, insight, and a playful spirit of inquiry.
At the end of the program, one participant noted, “By the end of the fifth session, I had articulated several ideas to myself for what I wanted to do next in my community to serve as an elder and really feel into what this means for my heart and soul.”
Groups are forming now for the Multi-generational Learning for Life, program.
The cost for the program is $179 US. ($199 CDN)
To participate, you need access to enough Internet bandwidth to give you reliable use of Zoom videochat (at least 2-5 mpbs upload and download).
Sign Up Below
When the next Multi-generational Learning for Life group has formed, we will contact you about payment and the timing of the first session for your group.
David Marshak, Facilitator
Co-founder of an alternative high school; public school teacher; developer of religious education curriculum for the Unitarian Universalist denomination; Assistant Superintendent in a small public high school district in Vermont; Professor in the College of Education at Seattle University, Adjunct Instructor at Western Washington University and Fairhaven College; Board Chair of Explorations Academy and founder of Explorations Academy Online; Founding President of the SelfDesign Graduate Institute.