Multigenerational Community, Mental Health, and Spiritual Wellbeing

By Barbara Moon

Multigenerational communities are a bonus kind of community according to the Life Model. This looks like people of different walks of life, ages, and various maturity levels enhancing each other’s growth. Multigenerational communities can occur both within a family and within various kinds of groups – including spiritual community. Families naturally have different generations with different maturity levels, while other groups can add the multigenerational aspect to their naturally occurring varying levels of maturity. Mixing different age groups and various maturity levels helps everyone in the community because emotional maturity is not based on chronological age – and almost everyone lacks maturity in an area or two regardless of how old they are. We need all ages and levels together. 

I am part of two groups that include various ages and various levels of maturity. We call these Joy Groups. We have people from 20’s to 70’s—most fall into the 40–60-year-old range. We also have people in each stage of maturity.  I find our young adults help us focus more broadly. Sawyer inspires us to think that the future is bright. She recently took a job in another state and sometimes it appears she is one of the most mature people in her company. Lacie, Christine, Alex, and Trey – others under age thirty – bring amazing insight to the group as they have been around long enough that their growth is evident.  They are open and vulnerable to share both struggles and victories, as well as giving the rest of the group insight into the way young people think and believe. 

With different ages and different levels of maturity, we want everyone to benefit and grow. We focus on discussions, questions, examples, and stories that illustrate the information so that practical transformation happens. People are safe to share struggles and failures. Appreciation, satisfaction, and Immanuel moments happen each week. No question is too strange. Members are encouraged to turn to Jesus. The more emotionally mature people help the less mature members grow where they have gaps in maturity. This works well with anyone who is humble and teachable. Being humble and teachable are vital for growth that benefits mental health and spiritual wellbeing. 

Our natural families create an easy group with multiple generations and maturity levels. I have seen some of my grandchildren heal, blossom, and grow after experiencing Immanuel Prayer and learning relational skills.  Jesus is central in their lives.  Families that include grandparents gain a greater benefit if the grandparents are emotionally mature, especially if they are at an elder maturity and can shepherd family members into their true identities. 

Healthy families filled with joy, grace, patience, belonging, and maturity skills allow members to function at their level of maturity without condemnation. Knowing we are accepted and safe at whatever level of maturity we have makes working on maturity easier. Maturing is a slow process and expecting too much too fast can drive people to false maturity. It does not help to expect a four-year-old to take care of a baby. The same is true with adults who are missing skills.  Easy access to help and support when needed benefits everyone’s mental health. If the family life is Christ-centered there is an added blessing of spiritual wellbeing. This is the ideal. 

Since many of us did not experience the ideal growing up and dysfunction is still prevalent, we can find joy, grace, patience, belonging, and emotional maturity in a multigenerational community with spiritual family such as Joy Groups. These are growing more available through online groups when not available close to home. Some churches can provide this need if they are open to seeing the value.  

Tradition has put people in the same age bracket groups. We all need interactions with all ages and stages of maturity. We learn grace and patience dealing with immaturity as we trust Jesus to help us see as He sees. We need people “behind” us, people “with” us, and people “ahead” of us. We all need practice with different skills to grow mental health and spiritual wellbeing. A multigenerational community is the ideal place for members to grow to the potential God has for each one. Joy, belonging, patience, grace, and working on missing skills will be the reward for those who humbly receive instruction, love, and correction from their family and community. 

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