Notes from Windward: #67


Inter-generational Communication

Alison's thoughts on building perspective

      For the past two years I have been living on a college campus in St. Paul, MN. and surrounded day in and out with several hundred peers for two four-month intervals each year. The only other adults that I see with any regularity are my Professors and Pedro, the kick butt janitor I work with. Considering what a critical transition point college is in a young person's life it's a great help to have people with experience nearby to talk to and touch base with.

      Typically, students at Macalester College are highly intelligent individuals with drive, but they lack the experience and knowledge of the generations before, people who've lived history, not just read about it. Interactions with my fellow students, fun though they are, don't compensate for or replace conversations with older generations. Being able to look at and learn from the past is a key part of preparing to build onto the future.

      Being able to talk to Jacque, Todd, Gina, Christina and Walt, has been fun and informative, and an important preliminary step toward a right of passage leading to taking on the responsibility of being a woman of the world. But more than fun, I feel that these intergenerational talks are necessary and desperately important. Back in our communal kitchen at college, what's not known and consequently missing from the conversation is a depth of knowledge of the history of the world, its people and environment. Rather, topics revolve around the latest musical trends, philosophy class, and what dinner is going to be. For two years I've been missing conversations with George about the American Civil War and with Carol about New Orleans thirty years ago. I need to learn the history of my family, country and world to understand what my generation is going to inherit. The present is comprised of more history than we give it credit for, and I'm enjoying the chance to learn more of that history.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 67