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February 11, 2020

Intergenerational conversations

Some of the young people from Barca-Leeds Senior Youth Group joined up recently with some Bramley Elderly Action members, for a conversation game. ‘The Conversation Game – Being Human’ has recently been created by Tea and Tolerance, and is now running as a pilot project as part of Time to Shine projects in Leeds. The group will be working with organisations across Leeds that work with older people. This session is one of the intergenerational sessions they ran.

There were some interesting similarities and differences between the young people and Elders taking part in the game. As the game progressed, a sense of shared values and connections developed.

Fran Graham, of Bramley Community Centre, said:
“There was a lot of laughter and some great ideas coming from the players – answering questions together like ‘what can we do to make things better?’ Good questions for these tough times. Great to see solidarity and hope shared across our Bramley generations.”

Here are some of the questions and discussions that took place:

Have you ever been locked out?
Yes, everyone had been locked out (or in) at some point.

What’s your favourite colour?
Black was a popular answer. Also blues were mentioned but all the blues not just one.

What’s your favourite food?
Both Youngers and Elders liked fish and chips or chicken and chips. One younger love pizza.

What’s your favourite hobby?
The Elders’ favourite hobbies were knitting. The Youngers chose football. This introduced one of the themes of the session, which was not being able to move so easily, not being able to be still, and how hard it was to be quiet. A little after this question someone played a ‘WILD’ card (cards with actions/instructions that any player can play at any time.) In this case, it was ‘be silent for 10 seconds’! This was really hard for younger participants, and they managed it! We all reflected on this and how this gets easier as you get older. Whereas running around and bursting with energy gets harder.

What superpower would you have? Superpowers wanted ranged from ‘invisibility’ to ‘teleportation’. Also mentioned was the ability to bring people back from the dead. And we had a moment reflecting on people or animals we have lost.

When do you step in? Most Elders and Youngers said that they would step in. The most popular reason was when they saw someone being unfair or hurting someone else. None of us liked the idea of injustice and unfairness. There was a real similarity with how Elders and Youngers felt about this issue.

Are you a risk taker? Everyone said yes to this! We decided you can’t be a bit of both – you either are or you are not. This led back to the previous question, about stepping in…which is a risk.

Who matters most? ‘Family’. Everyone said family. It was hard to pick just one member. One Younger talked about love for their dog.

How do we make things better? We talked a lot about little things we could do to spread a bit of kindness and friendliness. Like smiling at people in the street and saying ‘Good morning’. One person also reflected that people seem to respond more positively to ‘good morning’ than ‘good afternoon’. We wondered why that was.

During the game, the young people decided to make a card for one of the Elders whose birthday it was the next day. They managed to get each of us, and all of the other young people at the youth group, to sign the card. At the end they presented it to the Elder whose birthday was coming up.

If you would be interested in running a session like this and/or buying a game, please get in touch with Tea and Tolerance.

Tea and Tolerance