Greater meaning to life through multi-generational connections

By Rebecca Simkin, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Susan V. Bosak is a woman with a vision. She saw the opportunity for connection between generations as a way to give greater meaning to life and work and a way to have a bigger impact on the world, our environment and each other.

As we are now living longer than ever, we have the opportunity to connect with up to seven generations throughout our lives. At the moment, though, each generation is living more and more separate lives from others, and we are losing the opportunity to make intergenerational connections. Seniors live in senior communities, children spend their time primarily in school, and adults are mostly at their jobs. Because of this, we don’t spend much time with people of other generations, and we don’t realize that this is a problem.

Bosak suggests, “We’re stuck in little stories. The challenge of this moment in human history is that we need bigger stories to encourage more vital ways of being and doing.”

The concept of connecting the seven generations not only gives richness and meaning to our own lives but can also greatly impact the world and the future. It gives us a bigger view of our imprint on the world.

Her idea is backed up by many great thinkers, including anthropologist Margaret Mead, who asserted that “connections between generations are essential for the mental health and stability of nations.”

With this vision in mind, Bosak founded the Legacy Project to make a large-scale change by starting with meaningful local intergenerational projects, eventually developing into projects that have a broader impact on society and our planet.

Markham is host to a number of these projects, and you, or someone you know, might be interested in participating. The Legacy Project has brought together a community collaboration that includes the City of Markham, Markham Public Library, Social Services Network, and York University.

The 7-Generation initiative is rooted in an Indigenous concept of holistic, long-term thinking across seven generations while at the same time reflecting the modern context of a historic demographic shift to more living generations.

This initiative explores the following seven broad themes: environment and climate change, economy, community, health, education and lifelong learning, life course and aging, and Indigenous worldviews/knowledge.

The Legacy Project’s 23rd annual Listen to a Life Story Contest runs until April 14. The contest is open to young people 8-18 years old, with a grandparent 50 years or older.

Talk With Ethan: People & Place,  an intergenerational series, is made up of some virtual discussions starting the week of March 20, culminating in a Community Design Lab at Cornell Community Centre on April 13.

Whatever your age, this project is an opportunity to enrich your life and the lives of others. Visit for more information.

Now that you’ve been invited to the table of the Legacy Project, will you step up and join for a better planet?






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