Day 12. Appreciating the Wisdom of Our Elders
What do you think of "old people" - seniors?
Are you a senior yourself? How are you managing to keep pace with the information age? Do you find that young people tend to want to hurry you along from one activity to the next?
Is it difficult for you to find a willing audience to listen to your tales and heed your good advice?
In some cultures, elders are held in the highest regard. Younger individuals respect and revere their grandparents and great-grandparents for the wisdom they have gained through life experiences. Families are expected to house and financially support their aging parents, providing comfort, care, and dignity in their final chapter of life.
Old folks have a lot to teach us. People born during the "baby boom" era of the 1940s and on knew a very different world than the one we live in today. The pace was much slower, and there were far fewer rules and regulations impeding personal freedom.
They were witness to rapid advancements including the invention of the television and later the computer… VCRs, microwaves, compact disc players… things that are now considered fairly antiquated.
Our parents and grandparents witnessed the first men to walk on the moon. They lived through World War II, were part of the Civil Rights Movement, the liberation of women in American society, and many other sweeping societal changes.
One thing that more of us should feel blessed to have is the wisdom of our elders. What can an older person teach you about living meaningfully?
What about hard work? Loyalty, respect, and integrity?
Exercise 12: Practicing Gratitude for Our Elders
Here's a simple thing to do that will make an older person's day, and maybe even yours too. Spend some quality time with them.
It doesn't take much effort to enjoy the simple pleasures of, say, a slice of pie, a cup of coffee, and a good conversation with someone older than you who has seen and done some things and lived to tell about it.
When was the last time you had a lunch date with your aging parent?
Do you know someone living in a retirement home? Pay them a visit. Make it a practice to see them as often as you can.
Try to imagine yourself in an old person's shoes. Someday you, too, will seem slow and out of touch, to a young person for whom the world is so much different that the one you came of age in.
Older people want to be heard. They come from a time when the art of conversation was truly that - an art.
What can you learn about communication from someone older than you?
Write down some questions that you've been meaning to ask your favorite senior.
Bring along a piece of paper to present the questions on your next visit. Listen carefully. Give them the floor, and watch their eyes light up as they recall magical tales of their youth.
Later on, write down what they told you. This will be a keepsake to treasure for always.
May You Be Well