Building Bridges

What do a wardrobe, a door in the air, and a picture of a ship hanging on a bedroom wall have in common?

They all operate as a bridge.

Maybe you didn’t have a clue about the wardrobe, door in the air, or picture of a ship. I didn’t either until this summer, but many in the younger generation do. Likewise, the younger generation may not be familiar with this term–the sandwich generation–but my generation is.

Those in the sandwich generation are put in the position to care for both their children and their parents simultaneously, both emotionally and financially. They’re “sandwiched” between aging parents and adult children financially struggling to attain a solid financial foothold.[1] Did you know this demographic accounts for about 47 percent of adults in their 40s and 50s who have a parent 65 or older and are also raising a youngster or supporting a grown child? The term “sandwich generation” became so commonplace it was officially added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 2006.[2]

Maybe this term is new to both generations–the “club sandwich generation.” It refers to a situation that is becoming commonplace, too. Adults who are wedged between aging parents, their adult children, AND grandchildren.

This can result in a lot of people under one roof. Parents and young adults living in one home. Parents, young adults, and grandchildren all sharing the same living space. Often dealing with added financial stresses as a result, and certainly a formula for increased discord and conflict.

The home isn’t the only place where multiple generations operate under one roof. In the workplace, I’m at an age where some employees are the same age as my daughter. I’m also in a season where I’ve seen firsthand the effects of aging in my parents’ generation. Sadly I’ve heard comments from my parents’ generation that reveal haunting undertones questioning their relevance.

It’s a time for greater understanding and mutual respect between generations more than ever before.  

It’s more important than ever to build bridges.  

In Jesus’ eyes, we’re ALL relevant. Yes, that young adult “still” living with her parents. Yes, that seasoned employee in the workforce slightly overwhelmed by the ever-changing, always updating new technology in the workplace. Yes, that elderly parent who needs help with daily living.

Remember Jesus teaching the parable of leaving the ninety-nine sheep to search for the lost one?  Luke 15:4-7.

All relevant. Each and every one loved by Jesus.  

As we’re cast into these situations that meld generations together, whether in the home or in the workplace, its incumbent on us to appreciate and encourage the relevance and roles of the generations.

That’s where our faith can build bridges between the generations.

My hubby and I’ve been blessed to be included and embraced by our 28-year old daughter and her peers. They’ve come alongside and made our family times sweeter. I love witnessing their faith and I love learning from them. Often they refer to Aslan and the Chronicles of Narnia, a series of children’s books written by C.S. Lewis, three of which have been made into movies. Meredith and I saw the first movie, “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” together a number of years ago, but I’m sure her movie viewing was quite distracted as I peppered her with unending questions.

Recently after observing a misunderstanding between my generation and that of my daughters, Aslan and Chronicles of Narnia came to mind. I sensed a deep motivation to actually read the books. Though I had seen that first movie, I never understood its lasting appeal or that of the books. In that moment, it was decided. My summer reading would be Chronicles of Narnia! So, I texted my best friend at lunch and asked, “Want to read Chronicles of Narnia with me?”

Why would two women in their mid-50’s read a set of children’s books?

We devoured the first two books, and then in our child-like eagerness decided to watch that first movie again.

Now, I get it. Tears and one huge cheer filled her media room as I understood the relevance of every scene.  Though the books are children’s fiction set in the fantasy world of Narnia, Lewis’ words paint an engaging and impactful vision of the Gospel at work. When we stepped into the world of our children’s  generation, we gained insight and understanding that unites us in a common knowledge of Lewis’ work. A conversation starter that stirs discussion and develops a mutual base of knowledge from which we can dig into conversation and deeper understanding of God’s word.

We built a bridge. 

I witnessed that bridge the very day we watched the movie. My best friend’s 26-year old daughter joined us to watch the movie. Just like the two of us, she had not read the book prior to viewing the movie. This time the roles reversed as she peppered us with questions. We stopped the movie several times, rewound scenes, and discussion about the movie and Christ’s work on the cross ensued!

My generation sits squarely in the middle of that sandwich now. With so much discord and conflict among families and in our world, it won’t be resolved overnight, but we can take the first step. We can deconstruct that sandwich by constructing bridges to our children and grandchildren.

Growing our own faith with tools that interest our children, like Chronicles of Narnia, gives us the insight to build those bridges. And here’s the best part: We all witness Aslan on the move!

Stepping into the world of Narnia is just one tool to build unity and common understanding with the younger generations. What tool will you use to grow your faith and build a bridge?

I’d love to hear if you’ve read Chronicles of Narnia. What’s your favorite and why? As a lover of books, I’m the great-aunt that gifts books to the little ones in our family. So, I’d also love your suggestions on children’s books–from toddler to teenager–that you love. Books that grow faith and understanding in your family. Books that build a bridge.



[1] “The Sandwich Generation,”

[2] “The Sandwich Generation,”