Strengthening Intergenerational Ties Through Conversation

“I’ve known my nieces and nephews since they were born,” writes Marissa Verson Harrison, “and our conversations usually go something like this:

Me: What’s up?
Max: Nothing.
Me: What are you doing this summer?
Max: Working.
Me: Friend me on Instagram.
Max: That’s not a thing.”

Marissa describes in this article how she decided “to spend an hour investing in real-world relationships instead of Netflix’s market value.”

While sheltering in place, she invited her family and friends to have the Coronavirus – Alone: Solitude or Isolation? Living Room Conversation with her.

Participants spanned three generations, including Max, Marissa’s 18-year-old nephew, her 81 year-old mother, and her mother’s two friends.

The conversation allowed them to communicate in ways Marissa could not have otherwise imagined.

Max, for example, shared his perspective about staying at home. “I find myself oscillating between dread and fear and hope and faith. It’s emotionally draining to stay hopeful that everything’s going to be okay.”

One of her mother’s friends echoed Max’s sentiment. “Sometimes I feel weary and overwhelmed,” this participant said.  “I can do creative things alone for a while, like poetry and singing, but then my mood changes to sad. The creativity inside me comes out when I’m with people.”

“Living Room Conversations offered me a fascinating new way to understand myself, learn about the young people in my life, and understand the struggles of older adults coping with this Pandemic,” Marissa reflects.

Like Marissa, many of you have shared with us how Living Room Conversations are your permission slip to go beyond  small talk and pleasantries.

During this global crisis, many of us are reaching out to loved ones and investing in what’s most important to us: our relationships.  This conversation model, you’ve said, creates space for deeper sharing, invites our vulnerability, and enhances our sense of connection.

We’re discovering, just like Marissa’s family, that despite superficial  differences, there’s a deep commonality of our human experience, and that no matter if you’re 81 or 18, we’re more together than alone.

Shannon Mannon
Newsletter Editor