Is It Time to Invite More Generations to the Dinner Table?
Integration or “to make whole” is a foundational part of wisdom. As we age, we realize that a compartmentalized life is a scattered life. We grow old, and we grow whole.
What is true for us personally is also true for society. We are better when we learn to integrate our diverse people and perspectives. We’ve seen some marginal progress in this regard when it comes to gender, race, and sexual orientation, especially in the workplace. But, one of the great demographic divides that still exists is generationally. How often do you socialize with non-family members who are a couple of generations younger or older than you?
Through MEA’s affiliated non-profit, AGE, we’re excited to announce a new global initiative, Generations Over Dinner, co-created with MEA faculty member Michael Hebb who founded the Death Over Dinner movement. Imagine sitting at a dinner table with people from 3, 4, 5, or maybe even 6 other generations talking about love and relationships, personal purpose, how we solve current and future societal problems, or perhaps even how we create more intergenerational collaboration in the workplace. This is a generational potluck at its very best!
As we’ve been testing this out with some beta dinners, I’ve been reminded of something my MEA co-founder Jeff often says, “Wisdom is not taught; it’s shared.” It’s a powerful line that leads me to wonder how we might create the conditions for that wisdom to be shared across generations—from old to young and from young to old.
In one of our recent dinners, a Boomer talked about making a significant career change in her life. She told the group, “I was scared I was free falling, and that’s when I realized I was free. I realized how much of a box I’d put myself in with my sense of identity around my career, and I’ve never put myself in that box again.” I saw the Millennial at the table taking notes as he was in the midst of his own career transition.
How do we unlock the wisdom inside each of us? Maybe you’ve been assigned to a team - a particular generation based upon your birthdate - but you don’t feel so affiliated with that team. My experience as the modern elder at Airbnb taught me that I might be a perennial Millennial as I related to so much of that generation’s point of view.
So, how might you share your wisdom across the generations?
You can learn more about Generations Over Dinner at the website. The program starts later this month. Hope to see you at the table.
Chip at Shabbat dinner in Tel Aviv with 6 generations at the table on September 9, 2022.