Tenderness at All Ages: How Our Children Teach Compassion

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Tenderness at All Ages:

This is a must-watch video for every parent. We need more compassion in our world. While we might be frustrated by our kids relentless energy, curiosity, and inquisitiveness, we must keep in mind that others are absolutely starving for this kind of attention. We must remember to learn tenderness at all ages. Our children can teach us so much.

Courtesy of: www.presentperfectfilm.com

What would happen if you paired the very young with the very old?

It’s being done at a preschool in Seattle, where child care takes place throughout a campus which is also home to more than 400 older adults.

Called the Intergenerational Learning Center, the preschool is located within Providence Mount St. Vincent, a senior care center in West Seattle.

Residents of “the Mount,” Briggs said, did a “complete transformation in the presence of the children. Moments before the kids came in, sometimes the people seemed half alive, sometimes asleep. It was a depressing scene. As soon as the kids walked in for art or music or making sandwiches for the homeless or whatever the project that day was, the residents came alive.”

The kids, she said, took everything in stride. She talked of a moment at the beginning of the film trailer when a young boy, Max, is meeting an elderly man named John. John has to repeatedly ask Max his name, calling him Mack, Matt and Match. “That scene actually went on far longer that what you see in the trailer. But Max was just so patient, he just kept repeating his name over and over.”

Interestingly, the parents of the students don’t send their kids to the Intergenerational Learning Center primarily for the experience with the seniors. “It’s got a great reputation and great teachers,” said Briggs. But parents of kids who were in the class that she embedded herself in for the school year now tell her they see the benefit of the model. “One father told me that he especially sees it now that his own parents are aging.”

She named the film “Present Perfect” she said, as a reference to the fact that these two groups of people — the preschoolers, who have almost no past and so much future and the elderly who such rich past but very little future — really only have a few years of overlap in their lives.

“It’s also about being in the present moment,” Briggs said, “something so many adults struggle with.”

Briggs said the moments between the kids and the residents “sweet, some awkward, some funny — all of them poignant and heartbreakingly real. (abcnews.go.com)

 

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