14 Black Poppies is committed to building and sustaining sincere, compassionate, creative and equitable relationships across and amongst the generations. In fact, there is a 20+ age difference between Margaret and me. A lot of people ask us, "How can you be friends?" Then comes, "And business partners?"
For the two of us, it is just life. We met over 13 years ago through the Japanese Community Youth Council. My ex (then girlfriend) worked in the Asian Youth Prevention Services program and Margaret worked in development. We hit it off thanks to our love of writing and shared values of creativity, social justice, diversity and hope.
Over the years, our friendship deepened and blossomed into what it is today: a wonderful partnership working towards healing the world by bridging the differences that divide us through arts, wellness and community practices. It is our dream that 14 Black Poppies exemplifies the power of intergenerational friendships and relationships to create a more harmonious and pluralistic view of our communities and world. And the way we do this is through sharing our stories, creating together and honoring the space between us.
To refine and hone our practice, we have partnered with Professor Michael Lane at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa, to facilitate a tele-workshop on building intergenerational relationships workshop for his senior seminar for students in the BFA program. As part of the workshop, we are tasking student to interview someone 15+ their senior. We are asking questions such as:
- Who do you interact with outside your age group? What is their relationship to you?
- What assumptions do you have about people that are 15 or more years older than you?
- What are your criteria for friendships?
The students will be answering these questions for themselves as well as asking them of their interviewee. Their responses will form the crux of our workshop, and we will creatively share some of their responses with you, our fine readers.
We also want YOUR STORIES of building and sustaining intergenerational relationships. Has someone significantly older or younger than you changed your world view? How? What is the true power of building bridges across, amongst and between the generations?