Generational Relationships: My Generation and the Older Generation February, 2015
I’ve been pondering a lot lately about my generation and how we relate particularly to the oldest generation. I often see my peers walking around with this supercilious air, treating our great-grandparent’s generation with much disdain.
However, the reality is that we could learn much from them! And in many ways, they are far above us. No, they may not know how to operate an iPod, but they know what it’s like to work from sunrise to sunset in all weather to provide for their families. They know what it’s like to have no air-conditioning in the scorching summer heat! Many of the men have risked their lives in combat to gain freedom for our nation! I think I could almost guarantee that if I were to approach an eighty year old woman and ask her if she knew how to sew; her answer would be an emphatic, “Yes!” Then she would probably proceed to tell me how she had to make her family’s clothing every year. She would also know what it’s like to slave in the kitchen, hour after hour, preparing food for her family. No, Kraft mac-n-cheese didn’t exist. There wasn’t even a McDonald’s until 1955!
I know that many people in my generation know how to do many of these things: sew, work hard, cook, etc. But the older generation takes it to another level! Their hard work ethic and abilities surpass those of almost anyone I know!
Many of my favorite conversations are with my great-grandparents and others in their age range. They have such great wisdom and powerful insight! I yearn to hear them tell stories about their childhood! I covet the wisdom and insight they have! I have a vast appreciation and respect for them! I’m like a sponge, soaking up all the wisdom I can during my conversations with them!
They are not beneath me. In fact, they are far above me and deserve my respect!
My point to all of this is to say that if you think that older man in Walmart is slowing you down; I encourage you to look at his hat. You may be surprised to see that is says “World War II Veteran.” When you see that older woman struggling to put her groceries in her car, I encourage you to offer your help. She will bestow many thanks on you I’m sure!
Just smiling and referring to them as ma’am or sir says much of your character!
I could go on and on about how ardently I respect and love their generation! I could recount story upon story of conversations that I have had with them! But I think you would gain much more out of talking to them yourselves.
I encourage you to respect them. Love them. Talk to them. You will learn much. And it will probably not only make their day, but yours as well…….