“At the table you never get old.” — Italian proverb
Tucked away in a sprawling greenhouse on a small island in Washington with dusk falling on the candlelit farm table, I was able to experience the immense power of wisdom being shared between five generations. It was the night before the launch of our new global initiative Generations Over Dinner and the seven of us were glowing with laughter, a few tears, and the feeling you get when humans do what they are meant to do: connect deeply.
Generations Over Dinner is just as simple as it sounds; it is a gentle challenge to anyone reading these words: How many generations can you bring to the table? We live in an unprecedented time where there are 8 generations alive and able to find each other and share knowledge; the trick is, we need a little help when it comes to sparking these conversations. This initiative grew out of a friendship with Modern Elder Academy founder Chip Conley and, after a year of long walks with Chip and the leaders at both Stanford Center on Longevity and Encore.org, an idea was formed.
We live in an unprecedented time where there are 8 generations alive and able to find each other and share knowledge
What would it look like if the old, the young and the in-between could meet at dinner tables all over the world? To break bread and share their most prized possession: their life experience. The answer is that it is a beautiful thing to behold and it is already happening! Just days ago, we cast this idea into the world and thousands of people are already answering the call and organizing dinners across the planet.
The highlight of that dinner in the greenhouse was watching my 13-year-old daughter Violet inspire screen legend Tom Skerritt, NY Times bestselling author Mónica Guzmán, famed choreographer Donald Byrd, and filmmaker and journalist Charles Mudede. Violet’s clearly articulated hopes and fears landed directly in the hearts of everyone at the table, somehow making the future less uncertain for the world-wary table. In turn, I watched my daughter as she soaked up the decades of life experience at the table. She was a time traveler. Learning about the birth of jazz, what it was like to see and experience Charlie Parker for the first time, and about the challenges of being a black choreographer in a racist world. Her elders shared stories of love, failure, success and loss that will dance around in her forever.
Generations Over Dinner is an invitation and a challenge. It relies on people hearing about the movement and being inspired enough to create their own dinner. We have built a beautiful community platform to help everyone become a host or to find a dinner to participate in, and our incredible team of partners and advisors has worked together to create comprehensive dinner scripts for your table. We would love you to join the movement!