Borrowing from neighbours was once a commonplace practice, part of the network of relations we once had with those who lived within close range.
So what’s changed?
The industrial revolution brought affordable modern technology—with it quick transportation and supermarkets. In ancient times, hunting, gathering, and foraging were communal practices. And it wasn’t long ago that many cultures, especially rural ones, still relied on weekly markets, traveling salesmen, and the growing of their own goods. But living in relative isolation also meant more contact with your neighbours because one of them probably provided your weekly dairy needs and another milled wheat for flour or grew pears you exchanged for apples.
Changes in food technology, making fresh produce less perishable, extending shelf life, has decreased the interaction we have with those who live close by to help out when we are running short. Communal cooking practises regularly seen in other countries don’t feature in our society.
It’s easy to reflect on past practises with rose tinted spectacles. Changes in our food supply has brought countless benefits. However, does the growing reliance on foodbanks indicate we should re-evaluate practises long forgotten? Reconnecting with our neighbours in times of need would not only strengthen bonds within our communities but provide welcome support during difficult times. The social distance created by modern society is a symptom of our increasingly busy lives and the sprawling communities we now live in. However, it is only a short walk next door for that cupful of sugar, but the benefits to our communities can stretch much further than that.
Solomon thought so, he says to ‘go to the ant’ and ‘consider the ant’ and refers to them as little upon the earth but exceeding wise. He suggests that taking a leaf from their book will preserve us from poverty and give us wisdom. Given Solomon is the richest man the world has ever known (today he would be worth 100 times more than John D Rockefeller), some ant facts are worth knowing.
So, how do ant communities do it?
1. Strong leadership
Ant communities are headed by a queen or queens, whose function in life is to lay thousands of eggs that will ensure the survival of the colony. Workers (the ants typically seen by humans) are wingless females that never reproduce, but instead, forage for food, care for the queen’s offspring, work on the nest, protect the community, and perform many other duties. When the queen of the colony dies, the colony can only survive a few months. Queens are rarely replaced and the workers are not able to reproduce. The lesson;
Without strong and clear leadership – failure is imminent!
2. Communicate & cooperate
Ants are social insects which form colonies that range in size from a few dozen predatory individuals living in small natural cavities to highly organised colonies which may occupy large territories and consist of millions of individuals. Ants communicate and cooperate by using chemicals (pheromones) that can alert others to danger or lead them to a promising food source. The lesson;
Nothing can succeed without clear communication and cooperation.
Connections between generations are proven to enrich the lives of both young and seniors in long-lasting and meaningful ways.
When young people find ways to engage and develop relationships with the elderly, these experiences can build self-esteem, develop leadership skills, and encourage a lifelong commitment to volunteering.
For seniors, intergenerational connections provide the opportunity to transfer knowledge and wisdom, acknowledge self-worth, and feel they are contributing members of society.
In today’s world, many young people are experiencing less interaction with seniors because of homogenous neighborhoods, dispersed extended families, and increasing segregation of seniors living in care facilities or in isolation
Some of the benefits of intergenerational work include:
- Creation of age friendly communities.
- All generations have a lot to both teach and learn from each other and contribute to lifelong learning.
- Tackles issues around stereotyping and ageism.
- Increases understanding and respect between older people and younger people.
- Chance to make new friends and combats social isolation.
As you get older, keeping your mind active and healthy can become a big challenge. Your mental abilities generally decrease with age, particularly if your brain is not stimulated much. If your mind is not healthy and active in later life, you can have an increased chance of developing dementia (otherwise known as Alzheimer’s Disease). As well as age, your mental abilities can be affected by medical conditions and any medication that you are on to treat these.
A healthy mind can work wonders for improving your general health. Nutrition is believed to play a key role in keeping your mind healthy and active, and a good diet is essential for maintaining your general health. Recommended nutrition for an active mind includes fresh fruit and vegetables, salads, an adequate amount of carbohydrates and plenty of water (and fluids in general).
Some experts have suggested that several of the mental changes that were originally believed to be the result of getting older are actually caused by your lifestyle. This means that making the effort to keep your mind active and healthy through regular stimulation can have definite benefits for your mental abilities.
This can involve going back into education, taking home study courses, involving yourself in a new hobby or interest, doing stimulating puzzles (such as crosswords and Sudoku), playing games that require you to think (such as Scrabble or chess), reading books , exercising on a regular basis and using brain-training programs.
4.30 – 7pm Tuesday, 5th September 2017, Mackie Academy
This free community event is to promote and inform adults about key aspects of our young people’s health and wellbeing. With partners across education and health sessions are being offered on:
- Social Media
- Drugs and Alcohol
- Fast and easy cooking for the family
- Young People and Sleep
Conversation Cafe – If you can only spare a short time come in and visit our information stalls, chat with the teams and friends over a cup of tea and healthy nibbles.
You can book onto these sessions by phoning 01569 762071 or online at:
http://bit.ly/HWBStonehaven from Monday, 21st August to Sunday, 3rd September 2017
Thursday the 25th of May sees the second of an occasional series of events entitled Football in Question at The Grassic Gibbon Centre in Arbuthnott. Former Scotland manager Craig Brown will be in conversation with Andy Hall and will participate in an audience question and answer session.
Andy, who is also a director of the Centre, explained, “Last year, we had an excellent evening with Dons and Scotland legend Willie Miller. The support we received from Mearns football fans was terrific. We are fortunate to have another similar night in prospect on May 25th with Craig Brown.”
“We are delighted to have Craig for the event. He has a fund of stories and insights from throughout his varied career in football as a player, a manager and now as a director of Aberdeen Football Club.”
In anticipation of the event, Craig described his thoughts on coming to Arbuthnott –
“I am delighted to be joining Andy Hall, a man for whom I have the greatest respect, in conversation at the Lewis Grassic Gibbon Centre on the 25th May. I’m sure it will be an enjoyable and interesting experience for me and, hopefully, for those in attendance.”
Alongside the licensed event, there will be a two-course supper, a special Scotland football raffle, a fun quiz put together by Brian Duncan and a special auction of a signed and framed photographic print of Tom Finney’s famous “Splash”, real collector’s item. The late Sir Tom was widely recognised as England’s greatest player who remained loyal to his club Preston North End, one of Craig’s former managerial posts.
Aberdeenshire Council is now engaging with sports clubs across Aberdeenshire to find out about the kind of support they want and to help them develop and be sustainable in the future. We are requesting one response per club only please. An online survey is now live and available through the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/sportsclubs2017 The survey will be available for completion until midnight on Monday 1st May 2017. If you require any further information, please contact: