Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot interviewed by Bill Moyers

Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot, a noted sociologist and author of “The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50,” described the importance of lifelong learning and intergenerational work.  Her interest in exploring the “Third Chapter” of people’s lives began when she spoke to older people in social situations about what they were excited or passionate about.  These “confessional moments” as she calls them, were instructive: some would speak with enthusiasm “but on the other hand, sort of a shyness or reticence. As if what they were talking about, we shouldn't take too seriously.”  Lightfoot attributes this in part to the youth obsessed culture, where all too often people believe that when you have reached a certain age it is time to pull back and retire instead of going out and trying new things.  Lightfoot said that younger and older generations can come together and learn from each other in profound ways.  “When I talk about this, the importance of cross-generational projects and dialogues. It is about young people listening to old people. Old people listening to young people. Having a real discourse with respect and with empathy,” said Lightfoot.

Bill Moyers Journal, May 8, 2009