“Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.”
Pearl Sydenstricker Buck (1892-1973),
winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1932
Dear parents and friends of St. Timothy’s,
As Christmas approaches, it is a time when many folk have the opportunity to get together as families with grandparents and great-grandparents. Thankfully, our Creator understood the need for us to live in relationships which span different generations, and provide richness, wisdom, and opportunities for grace.
As Christians, understanding that each of us, whatever the age, ability, or frailty is made in Imago Dei (the image of God), opens our eyes to the ways He has designed us to live in relationships where we can show respect, dignity, love, and service to each other, despite our fallenness.
As our population ages, and families are more often dispersed around the world, there are many more elderly people who do not have the gift of having close family nearby. St. Timothy’s has a history, almost from its inception, of having a heart for the seniors in our community. Over the years our students have brought much joy to several groups by singing to and with them, and by relishing in activities such as sewing, making paper airplanes, and playing games. Through these times, our students, especially those whose elderly relatives are far away, get a taste again of the blessing that it is to spend time with older people.
Over the last few months we have been developing a relationship with a seniors’ day centre which caters for dear folk suffering from mild to moderate dementia and depression. We are excited about this, as alongside our visits, the staff have come to school to give our students “pre-visit” training, to demystify these diseases, and encourage our students to show patience, respect, and kindness to these lovely people.
Our students have come away from these visits with real joy. There was a beautiful incident in the latest visit, where a dear Romanian couple, who find English a struggle, found that one of the shyer children in our group was a native Romanian speaker. He sat between them, and they doted on him, like any grandparent might, and they feasted together on the joy of shared language, as each of them came alive in their native tongue.
This type of joyful experience will stay with our students, and remind them of the humanity, the Imago Dei, of those in our community from a completely different generation.
I pray that our “Wonderful Counselor” and “Prince of Peace” would reign in your hearts and families this Christmas.