Best have some tissues handy because the ABC’s ultimate tear-jerker, Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, is back. But the second season isn’t set in a retirement village — it’s set in an intergenerational pre-school. The aim is to get older Australians who are living alone — and there are 1.6 million of them across the country — reconnected with society.
So whether you’re young or old, here are the life lessons we can all learn from Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds.
It’s good to cry
Look, this show is a real punch to the heart. We learnt that from the first season. I didn’t even make it 25 minutes into the first episode this time without losing it. Admittedly, this season is harder for me to watch because my own grandmother passed away in January and she was my last living grandparent.
I was lucky enough to have a close relationship with her, but some of the kids on the show haven’t had the same opportunity because their grandparents live overseas. They absolutely jump at the chance to connect with a grown up, and it doesn’t take long for those grown ups to tell the kids “I love you”.
Making friends is intimidating at any age
A lot of the older people are quite hard on themselves when it comes to being “liked” by the kids. Which I get, because most of us are obsessed with how many likes we get on Instagram and that’s not even face-to-face. Trying to make friends as an adult is scary as hell. But as the experts on the show point out, it can be pretty intimidating for kids too, they just deploy different tactics to adults. There’s no easy way around it, unfortunately, and that’s ok.
Everyone has something worth shouting about
One of the most heartbreaking moments for me was seeing George, a retired forklift driver, reveal that he never had the education we all take for granted now. When one of the kids asks how to spell the word “blue” George is at a loss. He’d be forgiven for just giving up and crawling under a rock. I probably would. But George returns to the pre-school the next day with a 500-piece puzzle that he completed and the kids are in awe.
We need to stop writing off kids and old folks
Four-year-old Maximillian is smarter than you. He’s smarter than us all. That’s a fact. This kid is building radios (how does a 4-year-old even know what a radio is now?!) and is more emotionally switched-on than most adults. We’re so quick to write off kids and senior citizens alike. But kids are a lot more astute than we give them credit for, and older people still have a lot to offer, so maybe we should all just get off our high horses, yeah?
It’s never too late
Nothing is beyond fixing unless you’re dead, I reckon. That might be oversimplifying things, but I truly believe if there’s something in your life that you’re not happy about, at least have a crack at trying to make it better. Whether that’s a broken relationship with a relative, or just general loneliness, Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds is all about second chances and making things right. Sometimes you just have to overcome taking that frightening first step.
And if you’re lucky enough to still have your grandparents with you, hug them tight. Give them an extra hug for me.
Season two of Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds starts on ABC TV on April 6 at 8.30pm, or you can catch up on iview.