It was the 13th of April in the afternoon. A group of friends and their children gathered in a large hall to talk about… What was actually the topic of the conversation? They wanted to discuss a generation gap and the possibility of establishing an intergenerational dialogue. It is enough to take a closer look at the election results (US, BREXIT, The Netherlands) to realize that youth votes differently than older generations – more social, more international, and more sustainable. Our children are being raised in a different world: nowadays they have internet access, networking possibilities, and other things we could only dream about. In summary, it is time to get in touch with them and talk about what they think is important. In order to do this, we used a serious game Lords of the Valley in which farmers, governments, the bank and an ENGO interact with each other to meet their individual and common goals.
Here I present a short selection of what the participants experienced during the meeting:
- We wanted to know the rules before we start playing, thus we studied the instructions very thoroughly;
- It is quite a challenge to listen to the youth.
- It is hard to be patient and wait for them to take the initiative. After playing 2 rounds, they started to feel more comfortable and talkative (especially at the community meeting). It was good to see they paid attention to one another. The children turned out to be skilled in communication and persistent negotiators.
- We identified some funny and memorable situations:
- A farmer was in favor of customization, while the local government preached equality
- The Water Board and Local Government wanted to establish a policy before they started the negotiations
- It got crowded at the ‘desks’ of the Local Government and bank because they had an internal meeting
- The Local Government felt swamped because every party wanted something from them
- The Local Government and Water Board were barely in touch
- According to the farmers, you need a lot of stakeholders to run a business
- We got to understand that when you want to realize something together you need to communicate often and truly understand each other
Here is what I have learned:
- Both generations highly value a sustainable and responsible world, the biodiversity-indicator was constantly at its maximum!
- In future sessions we will play children vs parents instead of mixed teams.
… And finally, we have a diverse company of wonderful children