Wherever there are beginners and experts, old and young, there is some kind of learning going on, some kind of teaching. We are all pupils and we are all teachers.Gilbert Highet
I am the NJHS adviser at my school. Last year our chapter began cultivating a relationship with residents living in a local assisted living facility. Today was our first monthly visit, and it never ceases to make my heart sing. The students made paper pumpkins decorated for Autumn (not Halloween – that way the residents can keep them up until Thanksgiving).
The 8th graders broke into three groups and went to three different areas of the facility armed with Halloween picture books, trivia, and jokes. I went with six students to an area where about 10 seniors were awaiting their arrival. I had to break the ice a little for the students and help them feel comfortable, but once they got going they were great. They opened with The Night Before Halloween, which garnered chuckles from the “crowd.” In between trivia, which the seniors were very good at, and jokes, which were groaners, the students had conversations with the women and men. The kids asked the seniors what Halloween was like when they were kids, what they wore as costumes etc. In turn, the seniors asked the kids what sports they played and what they were studying in school. Each were geniunely interested in the stories of the other. We ended the session with a few rounds of Fisher Price basketball. You can’t believe how competitive those ladies were!
As we walked out to awaiting parents, students were all talking about their ideas for the next visits – charades, rhythm instruments, and more seasonal picture books. The kids and I set out to perform a service, but I think we were the true benefactors. Looking forward to next month!
One thought on “Making New Friends”
Your reflection reminded me of my days visiting my mother at her retirement community. While she had me on a regular basis, so many residents didn’t see anyone except the staff or occasional school groups.
Thank goodness there is a partnership to enrich the old and young. So many lessons are taught to those who visit.
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