INTERGENERATIONAL IS NOT A PROGRAM – IT IS A CULTURE

What do you think of when you hear “Intergenerational?” Do pictures of youth going to nursing homes (I know that is not the politically correct name for them) and visiting the elderly (another incorrect political term) come to mind? How about when the childern’s choir sings with the adult choir in a Christmas cantata or for a special service? Please don’t get me wrong, either of these situations are great and I hope they will continue but let’s talk briefly about the impact having all ages come together to work towards a common goal and the benefits it can have.

In my previous position as a Worship Pastor, each year we would put together a full musical production at Christmas. If you have read my blog before, chances are you have heard about these productions almost ad nauseam. These would inlude roles for all ages, and so the cast age ranged from 4 to 74. I loved seeing the younger actors and singers interacting with the older ones. Relationships were formed. I still see some of these relationships continue to grow and thrive, and they started because of spending hours together in rehearsals and performances. I occasionally would even hear the younger people calling some of the older people “Grandma” and “Grandpa.” In our society where families are spread out acorss the country, or families are non-traditional, or relationships are severed for many reasons, the new relationships developed in intergenerational endeavors can help people find healing and peace.

At my current position working at a community center where our mission is to develop the God-given talents of our members, intergenerational programming is essential. However, it has to be more than just a program or event. It has to become a part of our community’s culture. How does that happen? I am convinced it only happens when relationships are forged. People must be given the opportunity to not just come together and say we did something intergenerational, but they truly get to know the people that come and they interact with them and have time to get to know them.
My challenge is to look at the programs I offer and see where this fits best and where there will be ways the young and old can interact in meaningful way with each other. It is more than just having my children’s choir sing with my adult choir. It is more than just having my youth kids visit and give gifts to residents in retirement communities. Do you see how I didn’t use the politically incorrect terms? It will take more effort and time on our part as leaders, but the benefits are great as we build stronger communities within our walls where people are genuinely connecting and developing relationships. Afterall, it is not the programs or events we do that will last for eternity, it is the lives we have touched and the relationships we have made.

Sing on, friend!
Kevin Boesiger

Editor’s note: Check out some recent releases from Hal Leonard and Shawnee Press by clicking on the links below:

MY SHEEP LISTEN TO MY VOICE

THE TIME OF SONG

 

R. Kevin Boesiger received a Bachelor of Music Education from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a Masters of Music in Music Composition from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He is the Creative Arts Pastor at Christ Community Church in Beatrice where he has served since 1990. Boesiger was previously the Choral conductor for Southeast Community College in Beatrice where he directed the choir and served as the musical director for their stage productions for 12 years. He has studied with Mark Hayes, Dr. Randall Snyder, Tyler White and Boyd Bacon. Kevin performs and conducts on a regular basis for many community events, adjudicates and is a guest clinician for composer events. He is also the conductor for the Beatrice Regional Orchestra, and enjoys his time as a husband and father of four. He has been married to Tami since 1986.
Boesiger is published with the Lorenz Corporation, Hope Publishing Company, Pavane Publishing, Lillenas Publishing, Fred Bock Music, Shawnee Press & Easy Choir Music.com. He also has new releases coming out with Choristers Guild and Hinshaw Music. Kevin has also spent time overseas in India teaching at the Asian Christian College of Music in Kerala.

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