NewsThe ‘Seven-Generation Lunch’
The ‘Seven-Generation Lunch’

The ‘Seven-Generation Lunch’

I have been to meals involving several courses. I have sat down to eat some strange dishes. But I’ve never broken bread with ‘strangers’ from seven generations.

This week I had the privilege to attend (representing many of you as “the baby boomer”) an extraordinary Generations over Dinner with participants aged eight to 99 years old.

The idea is to gather friends, family and even complete strangers, as we did for lunch in this case, to answer six simple but profound questions.

Our gathering in the Blue Mountains behind Sydney might have been the first of its kind in the world. The concept has just kicked off, and sitting seven such generations down at once isn’t easy.

Would you enjoy hosting such an event, and who would you ask -  family, friends or both?

Maybe famous or infamous people living or dead, or would you take a potluck with strangers?


Our representative of Generation Y called in sick, so Gabriela, aged 56, the Gen X organiser, literally scoured the streets for someone aged 28-42 to fit the bill.

She found Arthur operating a coffee cart nearby, and he was gently press-ganged to join our happy throng. The cast included Pat, age 99, the Greatest Generation; Joan, 83, capably filled the following Silent Generation; Sam, 24, was Generation Z, and Manu, age eight, was childhood or Generation Alpha.

The names of the generations and the dates differ a little, but the graphic below gives a picture next to that of the diners about to give their take on some big questions.

Graphic from Wikipedia

I’ll get to some of the questions below, but it’s the brainchild of Michael Hebb, who wants 10,000 such intergenerational meals to be held around the world before Christmas.

“The model demonstrated the importance of bringing curious minds together to engage in important conversations. With Generations Over Dinner, we’re excited to see what wisdom an 80-year-old can share with an 18-year-old and, just as importantly, what new curiosities an 18-year-old can inspire within an 80-year-old.”

The rules were each person answered the question in their own way without interruption or challenge, and unlike some meals, we actually listened to each other.

It wasn’t a debate but a chance to hear from a wide variety of ages their response to pre-selected questions in between a roast bell pepper soup, poached salmon and fresh fruits with ice cream.

For example, we were asked to share one misconception others might have about our generation. I suggested boomers were not all radicals or hippies.

On what was the most outstanding innovation, technical or social, in your lifetime, Joan offered contraception, and schoolboy Manu suggested it was the online game Minecraft.

When asked about the most significant problem facing humanity, Pat, who had experienced the shadow of two world wars, said it was simply war. Gabriela offered poor governance, and Sam nailed social media to the wall. No one mentioned climate change directly, although it was alluded to in most answers.

To find out more and maybe even arrange your own such Generations Over Dinner, check out the website or leave your comments below.

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The ‘Seven-Generation Lunch’

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Someone from NSW commented:

Thanks, Christopher. The conversation was most enjoyable, especially the unexpected comments from our youngest and oldest guests. 

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