Growing up, I was obsessed with listening to stories about my relatives. Every time I would visit my grandparents, I’d find myself immersed in the world they grew up in - learning about love, loss, family and overall the value of life.
However, along with that, I also saw the differences in childhood between my older family members and myself. From being drafted into the war, to immigrating across the world, they had experiences I was unable to relate to because I grew up in a much different environment. My home always stayed in one place and I never had to worry about someone close to me being drafted. These differences were major, but what I learned is that these differences can create a harmony - where older and younger generations can learn from each other and help grow with new perspectives and ideas.
And as a way to celebrate these differences, the first Saturday of May has become National Join Hands Day. In 2023, this falls on May 6th. This holiday is meant to bring the older and younger generations together and make a positive change in the world. Though my story dealt with generations within family, Join Hands Day is a way to learn about how generations in general have impacted our world and how we can come together to make a brighter future. This can be done by learning about the history of family members, volunteering at events with different generations of people, or even interviewing someone of a different generation to learn about them and the wisdom they carry.
A Cardinal Rule Press book that is a great one to read with kids during this holiday is What The Bread Says: Baking With Love, History, and Papan by Vanessa Garcia. This picture book focuses on Vanessa and Papan baking bread together and while they wait for the bread to rise, Papan tells Vanessa stories of his life that help her learn about the importance of love and family, as well as the power of how stories can help carry us through difficult times. This book is a great tool for Join Hands Day because it gives a younger generation insight into their family history, and how the lessons learned from these stories can help them with growing up in their own life. The book also promotes the importance of relationships, specifically generational relationships. By having appreciation for a family member of a different age, there is a stronger bond built between you and them. This can be the same with a co-worker, role model, or even a friend. By understanding the person and wanting to learn from them even though they come from a different generation, you will form a better relationship with them and have opened your mind to a new perspective on the world.
I personally find Join Hands Day to be a great celebration because not only are we taking in wisdom from older generations to help us grow, younger generations can help teach about our ever-changing society that we are constantly having to adapt to. Younger generations may have a better adaptation to things like technology, so they can use their own knowledge to help older generations with being able to stay connected with our changing environment. By having both generations work together with their different ideas and skill sets, there is the possibility to create a greater future.
What The Bread Says can be a beneficial way for children to celebrate the holiday as well as have an early start on what it means to understand and learn from different generations. They will even see the value of generational relationships in their family and the joy within it. This is a beautiful holiday meant to spread the joy of connecting with others and hopefully impact the world in amazing ways.
Taylor Depouw is a recent graduate from Central Michigan University where she received her bachelors in English Literature and Language with a specialization in Children's and Young Adult Literature. In her free time, she loves reading and writing, photography, traveling, and attending concerts with friends and family.