By Sharna Goldseker
As I ease back into a post-August schedule, I’ve been trying to extend our ‘go slow to go fast’ consulting mantra into my pace at work this fall. In order to do that, I’ve been trying to carve out time to read interesting pieces, and this blog from Annie Murphy Paul (which Danielle encouraged me to subscribe to) struck me as one worth passing along.
Often in our practice, we are grappling with how to explain to parents and grandparents that when they invite the “kids” into their philanthropy, the kids’ distinct generational personalities brush up against their elders’ generational personalities. The family philanthropy meeting often brings those differences to a head playing out in different ways each generation likes to operate (i.e. If there is an agenda for the meeting, if one can dial/skype in or not, if materials are sent out in advance, etc.). In this post below, Paul looks at multigenerational engagement through the other end of the kaleidoscope; moreover, she considers research on intergenerational education games examining parents who feel as out of sorts in the digital gaming world as a Gen Yer must feel during his/her first time in an philanthropic boardroom.
I was interested to learn some of the lessons the researchers discovered as they tried to mitigate the generational differences and improve the parents’ ability to play digital games with their kids:
- Scaffolding – “As the two generations play together, the adult can ‘scaffold’ the child’s learning, asking questions, providing guidance, helping the child make new connections or draw on past experiences.”
–>As facilitators, how can we help families “scaffold” or frame the experiences they are having no matter which generation is leading and which is learning?
- Tutorials – Designers of the games had to go back and add a “video tutorial” to be watched by parents and kids so they understood the different roles they played in the game.
–> As facilitators, how can we make sure to prepare participants in a family meeting for the roles they are to play in the meeting so neither generation is lost?
- Practice problem solving – Researchers reported that games that involved “dilemma situations” where the players had to work together to solve problems led to parents involvement rather than one-way commands to their children.
–>As facilitators, how can we structure case studies, practice grant reviews or other scenarios so that clients of different generations can solve problems together?
- Fielding a Team – Paul highlights, that “pairs made up of one youngster and one adult actually cooperated better than same-age pairs,” supporting the argument that multigenerational teams draw on everyones unique strengths and skills and can make the work more effective in addition to it being a family get-together.
–> As facilitators how can we draw out for everyone to see the different attributes that family members of each generation bring to the team. For example, in baseball, a coach wouldn’t field a
team with all first-base players; rather, coaches field teams with the best players at short stop, outfield, etc. Similarly with families, how can we help them see that, “each generation proffers its
own strengths. Children contribute their speedy reflexes and technological savvy; adults bring their broader knowledge and beter-developed faculties of self-control.”
- Lastly, for those families who want to cruise into a bonus round, they are even starting to co-create their own interactive games.
–> As facilitators, how can we encourage well-performing family teams to continue to flex their gaming muscles and do good work together?
Ok, I think that’s enough musing for the first week back. Let me know what you think of this article when you have a sec to read it. And in the meantime, have a restful weekend and a productive start of September. I look forward to hearing what you’re reading when you are going slow to go fast.