Sharing The Bond
First-ever intergenerational activity book launched in Singapore as first of a three-part project.
The Women’s Initiative for Ageing Successfully (WINGS) launched a workbook aimed at fostering closer ties across three generations in families.
The Bond is a full colour, 48-page hardcover workbook published by WINGS as a special project for children and their grandparents, with additional participation from their parents and other family members are encouraged. The workbook provides the framework for grandparents and grandchildren to work together to record their thoughts, feelings and interesting facts about their family, their heritage and their legacy.
As the traditional Chinese adage goes, to have an elderly person in the household is to have a treasure in the home. As a strong advocate for older women, WINGS feels grandmothers can actively contribute to their children and grandchildren’s lives, and stay connected to the younger generation. The workbook is designed in a fun way to facilitate the exchange of ideas between the grandparent and grandchild, and gives them a chance to learn from each other. Topics covered in the scrapbook-style workbook include the family tree, family traditions, recipes, special occasions, family values, environmental issues and more.
Dr Kanwaljit Soin, president of WINGS, explained: “Older women and men have a lot of life experiences to share with the younger generation and vice versa. At WINGS, we see The Bond Project as an avenue for grandparents to stay in touch with their grandkids. In the long-run, meaningful interactions strengthen intergenerational relationships and prevent older people from feeling left out and isolated.”
She added that studies have shown that when younger people interact with older people, it reduces their fear of ageing and old age. “Younger people then more readily accept ageing as part of the life cycle.”
So what are the early adopters saying about The Bond? “I went through The Bond Workbook with my granddaughter over Chinese New Year and we both found it useful and very interesting,” said Dato’ Dr Jannie Tay of The Hour Glass Group, a grandmother of three. She further lauded The Bond’s “wonderful concept” and was glad that it gave grandparents and their grandchildren the opportunity to share their thoughts, experiences and feelings on relevant topics in a focused, yet fun manner.
Veteran educator and grandmother of eight, Carmee Lim, also praised The Bond Workbook for its attractive and easy-to-use layout. “I can see children getting excited to complete the activities in the book, being creative with photos and drawings, while grandparents like myself will enjoy reminiscing about the past as we share our stories with the youngsters. A delightful way to Bond!”
“When I heard about The Bond Workbook, I immediately ordered five copies for my younger cousins. It’s a great way for each of them to spend quality time with our grandmother,” said Michele Lee, 35, who revealed that two of her teenage cousins had worked on a few pages of the workbook and quickly discovered “hidden naughty nuggets” about their grandmother, that even their parents had not known about. (Prior to receiving her pre-ordered Workbook, Lee’s cousins were given early pages of the Workbook that were still in PDF format then to work with their grandmother, 86-year-old Hee Yut Ying, who is seen in the above picture with her grandchildren, Arabel Yap, 13, and Gabriel Yap, 17.)
Besides closing the intergeneration gap, the Bond Project is also another platform for WINGS members to “actively participate and engage in community activities”, explained Amy Tan, executive director of WINGS. She added that there are 22 members aged 40 and above who have volunteered to be the Workshop Leaders at the series of Bond Workshops this year (shown below).
The Bond Project comes in three parts – The Bond Workbook, The Bond Workshop and The Bond Exhibition. To complement the launch of the workbook, The Bond Workshops kicked off during the March school holidays and will run till end of this year. Grandparents and their grandchildren, regardless of gender, are encouraged to participate in the hour-long workshops to learn more about each other through games and exercises. Each workbook comes with a free workshop for a grandparent-grandchild pair. Participants are to register with WINGS as workshop seats are on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The Bond Project will culminate in The Bond Exhibition in August 2010. To coincide with Singapore’s 45th National Day, it will showcase the completed workbooks of 45 participants whose entries will be picked by lucky draw. The exhibition will be held at the Jurong Regional Library and will roam to two other libraries in Woodlands and Bishan in August. The Bond Project is supported by the Council for Third Age (C3A) and the Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports. It is one of the six projects from various organisations that have been selected for the finals of the C3A’s Intergenerational Bonding Awards.
• THE BOND WORKBOOK –
$25 (WINGS members pay $23) (the sale of the workshops will go back to WINGS for its on-going monthly activities for its members).
Bulk orders of 10 copies and above by corporations and schools can be arranged by WINGS.
For more information, call WINGS at 6250 1012 or e-mail to: email@example.com.
• THE BOND WORKSHOP –
This is a free one-hour workshop with the purchase of The Bond Workbook. It will be held during June, September, November and December school holidays at various National Library sites. For a full-year’s schedule and for registration, visit www.wings.sg (click on ‘Projects’).