Coming into Our Own
a book by Mark Gerzon
(our site's book review)
Gerzon says that “Authentic community . . . ensures that the young are initiated by adults; that infants are tended by parent or other loving caretakers; . . . that the old are respected and their skills utilized. Authentic communities do not isolate the elderly in ghettos for the elderly, or warehouse the young in impersonal, under-staffed childcare centers or schools that neglect them; they do not leave young mothers trapped home alone with infants, or create jobs that prevent working parents from being with their young children.”
Authentic communities do not isolate the elderly in ghettos for the elderly
He says “Authentic multigenerational communities tend to every stage of the life cycle because they know that, ultimately, this is the only way that they will flourish. When the community is weak or absent, we all stumble forward, lurching through the life cycle. When it runs strong, life flows with greater meaning.”
Gerzon says that we see the elderly as a special interest group that is greedy for its slice of the budget. We see a dichotomy in which it is elders against the young. But this is shortsighted, because the truth is that the generations are an interdependent system, and investing in the young is the only way elders can expect entitlements to be there once they’re old enough to collect them, and investing in elders’ quality of life is the only way the young can have hope about their future lifestyle quality. Also, if the young do not learn from the old, then the young must learn all the hard and painful lessons that the old learned long ago. That would certainly be a foolish way to run a society. See Age Power: How the 21st Century Will Be Ruled by the New Old and Speculations on the Future of Aging.
In the future elders will have lots of clout due to their numbers, their willingness to vote, and their strong beliefs
Now check out MCs and bask in the understanding of what REAL communities are all about. Gerzon's book does a great job of listing what they need and don't need, but how to create communities that act that way—he is weak here. See The Responsive Communitarian Platform.