Why Listen To Your Elders
- Seasons Change, So Can You: A Guide to Instigating Life-Changing Transformations: Alfreta Sailor: 97
Seasons Change, So Can You: A Guide to Instigating Life-Changing Transformations [Alfreta Sailor] on Amazon.com.
What is old
The Bible says, the glory of a young man is his strength, of an old man his experience. In today's society old is relative, especially when living to a ripe old age is the norm. Can't you remember when you were, say, oh, about fifteen, you probably thought old was about thirty. So when I say listen to your elders, that could just be someone in their thirties. I feel, however for the most part, that life's experiences are more valuable beginning around the mid forties.
I once heard an example, concerning the relationship of age to knowledge, that went something like this: "Are you about ten years old, wouldn't you agree that you know more than you did when you were about five? What about twelve, you can say that you certainly know more than you did at ten. Are you fifteen, you know everything don't you, well at least you know enough to know that you are smarter than you were at twelve?" Profound, wouldn't you say!
Another one says, "at fifteen, you'd better leave home now while you know everything." These thoughts in part could apply to most of us. Think about this, whatever age you are, you can look back and say, "if I knew then what I know now," meaning with a little knowledge you would have made different choices. Well, with age comes wisdom, and it is the wise person that knows that they don't know it all, and that there is always room for improvement.
When I was about fifteen, "I knew everything,"( at least that's what I thought), I would look at my mother and think (seriously now), that she was just not that smart. When I was in my twenties, my mother said something to me one day, in the way of advice, I turned to see where that voice was coming from. Why, it was my mother, (the previously not so smart woman), and I thought, "this is the wisest woman I know. And to this day I still feel the same way. Maya Angelou can't hold a candle to her. Although I would love to sit at the feet of Miss Angelou and soak up some of that age old wisdom.
I love older people. Sometimes I will engage an older person in conversation just to hear what they have to say, and I really do listen. Because the wisdom that they dispense is, for the most part, not from books, but from the book of life. Older women have what we use to call in the south, "mother-wit. " For the most part, their inherit wisdom is not written down anywhere, although it should be. Most of the time the learned men/women pooh, pooh the advice from the older ones, because they've found "a better way." Think about it, if you are around fifty, did your parents raise you from a book? (I'm just saying). I am going to go on record here to say, that, I did learn a thing or two from Dr. Benjamin Spock, things like toilet training, weening from the bottle, and things of that nature, however, I took even that with a grain of salt.
What to listen for
In saying listen to our elders, what should we hear. Women, we should hear wise advice on raising our children, how to have a meaningful and lasting spousal relationship, career choices, getting along with our peers, etc. Advice on raising children, should feel right. We might look at an older woman and say, because of her failures, why should I listen to her. Think about this, if she has failed, she is probably the best person to accept advice from, because she can, in hindsight see the mistakes that she's made. She might make the statement, "If I had to do it all over again," and then proceed to do just that, do it all over again vicariously through the advice that she gives.
For instance, if she failed at her marriage, she can look back and see that maybe, she could have given more of herself. Perhaps she can see how she let herself be a doormat, and can tell you how not to let that happen to you. What if she raised not so successful children, and can see where she failed, that's valuable information that she can pass on to you. So accept it in the spirit that it is given.
Younger men, what about an older man's advice? Of course, taking advice from someone that has set good examples throughout his life goes without saying, by all means take the advice and run with it. But what about the man that has looked back on his life, and saw the damage that he has done to his spouse, children, friends, etc. Don't you think, if he is telling you how not to be the man that he was, you should listen?
Suppose that he didn't spend time with his children and they didn't have what they needed to grow into responsible adults. Well, when he tells you how not to live his life, shouldn't you listen. What about the wives that he's been through, or just the one that he didn't treat right? I heard a TV mogul say once, when asked about his regrets, he said something to the effect, that he wished that he had treated his wives differently. So maybe this type of man has just the advice that you need, to keep you from falling into that trap. I could go on with this line of thought, but I hope you understand where I'm coming from.
As was stated in the beginning, older is relative. Twenty somethings, don't think there's nothing thirty somethings can tell you. Consider this, couldn't you give advice to a ten year old, don't you think that he should listen to your advice? This applies to any age. What you want to do is listen for the ring of truth, or what sounds like good advice. Sixty somethings...... we're also never too old to learn, we can look to seventy years and older for advice. Whatever the age, if you respect those that came before you, you can learn valuable lessons. Just remember, they've been where you have yet to go, and they know what awaits you on the other side. So when an older person speaks, sit up, take notice, and perhaps you too will, in time, be considered worthy of passing on your wisdom.