Never in the history of mankind have we witnessed a ‘silent revolution’ of such significance for all sectors of society: population ageing, a global phenomenon, is affecting every man, woman and child with direct bearing on the intergenerational and intragenerational equity and solidarity. Two key elements of this transformation: a new architecture of society and an increasing complexity of extended family patterns and relations. Consequently, fundamental issues are brought to the forefront: one of them is to address the role of the older generations and grand-parenthood in our society today, knowing violence within families and in schools call for urgent measures and interventions to guarantee the healthy development of children. Furthermore, in a global context of techno-/eco-lead policy agenda, empowering the family and older generations for the betterment of youth is at the center of stabilizing society, ensuring a humanized development and guaranteeing inner and outer peace and security for all generations. Data shows that the grandparents and the elders play an increasing role in all sectors of society such as providing care to their grand-children, heading households, parenting orphans and volunteering on a number of activities.
Traditionally, ancient cultures recognized the older generations as the source of knowledge and wisdom and referred to them as models for their own lives and future. The Elders were praised as “Transmitters of culture”, as “Guardians of the secrets of life” or as “the Wise” to consult for preventing conflicts and preserving peace in the individual and in society. Today, their role is challenged and tends to be ignored with the mutation of the traditional family, with migration, with the mix of cultures and especially the predominance of an economy and technology value-based society.
In this context, an area, which has not been studied nor given much attention, is the implicit role and ‘unseen impact’ of the elderly on social issues, on belief systems and on behaviors of the younger generations, such as the psycho-social effect of the role model elders play for younger generations. For example:
– at the micro-level: the documented transmission to future generations of patterns of behavior such as violence, abuse, alcoholism, etc. has not been taken into consideration when addressing the violence of youth; other example: the absent or dysfunctional ‘grand-parents’ model in a family could have effects on the
Astrid Stuckelberger (In print New York Academy of Science – Kluwer Edition)— © email@example.com