Skip to content

Intergenerational Human Flourishing

In a culture where autonomy is often pursued as an ideal, it’s not surprising to learn that America is also experiencing a so-called loneliness epidemic. Together with loneliness, depression is also on the rise—a correlation that makes sense, given man’s nature as a social animal.

What is the solution to these problems? While there is perhaps no panacea, there is a particularly important starting point: the intergenerational family. 

This week, we explore the idea of “intergenerational human flourishing” with Fr. Robert Gahl, long-time professor at the Pontifical University of Santa Croce in Rome, Italy, who was recently appointed Associate Professor in the Busch School of Business at The Catholic University of America. 

In this episode, Fr. Bob weaves research from several disciplines—sociology, philosophy, theology, and neuroscience—together with his own personal and pastoral experience. All the data point to the same fact: if they are to flourish, our sons need to know themselves to be part of a bigger story which includes relationships with parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents. Such strong intergenerationality will give our boys a sense that life is a total gift. 

Our job as educators, then, is to free young people from an individualistic solipsism, in part by helping them discover the role they are created to play in an intergenerational ecosystem.


  • 3:30 Introduction: intergenerational human flourishing
  • 4:55 Human flourishing
  • 10:15 Intergenerationality
  • 2:45 Protagonists of a story 
  • 17:30 The role of grandparents 
  • 22:30 Family in different cultures
  • 27:05 Attachment and independence in the home
  • 31:15 Cause for hope 
  • 37:15 Heroism transmitted in the home
  • 42:15 Fr. Bob’s work at the Busch School 

Mentioned in the episode 

The Human Flourishing Program, directed by Tyler VanderWeele

Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI

Master of Science in Ecclesial Administration and Management at the Busch School of Business

Also from the Forum 

Shaping Your Son’s Moral Imagination with Alvaro de Vicente 

About the Guest

Fr. Bob Gahl

Fr. Robert Gahl, PhD is Associate Professor in the Busch School of Business at Catholic University of America, where he has relaunched Church Management Programs including the Master in Ecclesiastical Administration and Management (MEAM). He is also Associate Professor of Ethics in the School of Philosophy of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cr...

Subscribe to The Heights Forum Newsletter

I'm interested in content for...
Select if you'd like to receive a monthly newsletter specifically for any of these educator roles.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.