There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and socks for Dad on Father’s Day.
But when you take away the fancy feet warmers, chocolates and Bunnings vouchers, Father’s Day offers so much more.
It’s an opportunity to recognise the important role played by Dads, Grandfathers and other influential men in our lives.
It is also a great opportunity to bring generations together.
This week, we shared a video from ABC Australia on Facebook that featured the Mirinjani aged care facility in Canberra.
Mirinjani, along with facilitator ACT Playgroups, runs a regular playgroup that seeks to unite the young with the young at heart.
The video – and the response from our Facebook followers, highlighted the enormous benefits of intergenerational bonding.
Mirinjani Care Services’ Norma Sumner says the program has been running for four years and has offered a number of surprises.
“The thing that really has got me is the number of men who come, because they grew up in the era where men didn’t change nappies or anything,” she said.
“Ken’s a typical example of that. He didn’t come out of his room a great lot, but he [now] comes every day.”
Ken has formed strong connections with the young visitors, especially Archie.
“Ken is an early dementia diagnosed patient, but he still remembers everything that Archie does, and he always talks about Archie,” says Playgroups ACT’s Chandani Ramasundara.
The success of the Miranjani playgroup shows that intergenerational bonding does not always need to be driven by family connections.
In fact, many of those participating in the program lived a considerable distance from their relatives.
Proximity can be major hurdle for many families and a barrier to intergenerational bonding.
These days, it’s not uncommon for families to be spread across the country.
The issue of distance is often made more painful during holiday periods or special occasions such as Father’s Day.
Scheduling quality time with loved ones can be challenging. Complex family histories can also make things difficult.
No family situation is perfect, but the ‘middle generation’ can play an important role in bridging the generational gap by facilitating these vital social interactions.
Strong intergenerational relationships create common ground and lead to greater knowledge sharing between groups. This can help combat negative stereotypes and prevent ageism.
Father’s Day is the perfect time to engage in some intergenerational bonding, but the benefits can be enjoyed all-year-round.
Just make sure you’re wearing the right socks.