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01.08.12

The wisdom and know-how of older folk

Source: C.J.L

I concur entirely with the thesis that retired folk should be regarded as an asset. What a pity it has taken so long for such view to be voiced.

B&Q were pioneers in recognising that there was a vast reserve of know-how on DIY, far beyond official operating instructions and manuals, so offered employment to older people. Unfortunately not many others have had such insight.

But it does not stop at employment. Older people have vast knowledge of pastimes and leisure interests – see the many U3As and retirement clubs across the country. And many are grandparents and skilled at capturing the interest of young people. So why do not all schools or education authorities canvass local people to run after-school and weekend clubs in many areas? Yes, they'd have to be security-checked, but the pay-off is so widespread:

  • giving senior citizens a sense of self-worth and value to
    society
  • making greater use of school premises so often neglected out of
    hours
  • taking a load off hard-working teachers who are expected to run
    out-of-school events in their spare time
  • introducing young people to a wide range of leisure activities –
    and a knowledge of ‘how the other half lives’
  • giving them resources to pass their spare time pleasurably
    instead of getting into mischief and worse
  • offering practical applications for much of the learning they
    get in school without any apparent rationale for its teaching
  • helping working parents who cannot find supervision facilities
    cheaply enough, with confidence that their children are safe and in good
    hands
  • offering social interactions and possibly nutritional support,
    rather like breakfast clubs but for a much longer time
  • motivating and sometimes even coaching children in areas where they are behind e.g. reading clubs that help those with reading difficulties
  • possibly generating income, where it is reasonable to make a small
    charge for such clubs, which could be spent on apparatus and equipment.

I have moaned about this for years but have never had a forum for spreading the idea before. I do hope it is worth considering.

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