Rule 11. Respect your elders.
As we get closer to Christmas, we are filled with various emotions: excitement, anticipation, happiness, and joy. For some of us there are other feelings: dread, anxiety, and regret. There are various reasons for these negative feelings, but not the least of them is family. Our families are not by our own choosing, they can be the greatest help or the greatest burden. It’s about this time of year that I have to remember, respect your elders.
Elders have the role of adviser in the lives of younger people, whether asked to or not, they dispense their advice from years of experience. The difficulty starts to arrive when they tell you what you already know, or tell you the same thing over, and over, and over again. When you get together with your family there will be relatives of advanced age, and they will want to talk.
There are many benefits of listening to your elders. As Nassim Taleb noted in his book, Fooled by Randomness, older stock traders tend to be smarter than younger ones because they have experienced more random and odd things. They have witness the unexpected and survived. Likewise our elders who have made it this long have years of experience that young people don’t have yet. It is possible to live long and not learn much, but there is still the experience of the world around them that they can share. Knowledge of events past, history before us are helpful. As we’ve seen, there is nothing new under the sun.
By listening to your elders, even the annoying ones, you are being a blessing to them. Older people can easily feel irrelevant. The world they once dominated is gone, replaced by computers, Youtube and smartphones. In previous times there was still a need for the wisdom of our elders, but now much of that is being replaced by Wikipedia and Google. When a young person has a question they are more likely to turn to the internet than a elder.
Younger people also may forget, soon they too will be older. Life will pass by them as it did their ancestors before them and leave them wondering where they are. Often the seeds we sowed will often come back to bite us, it’s no different with our elders. If you consider your elders, parents, and grandparents, foolish or irrelevant, your children will pick up on that and treat you the same way when you get old.
Getting old is not a crime, in fact in ancient times it was sign of ones cleverness and ability that they survived life. Now with advances in medicine not just the more capable, smart and healthy have reached eldership. There are some who didn’t learn while they were young and have little to offer their legacy.
Our elders usually have something to share, something to teach. Be patient and you will find it.
Wait with a smile
Sometimes there isn’t anything you think you can learn. Sometimes there isn’t. But be gracious, think of the happiness you are giving them by listening to their words. Worst case scenario you are improving your patience.
Remember your future
Someday you will be considered “old.” How would you want your children and grandchildren to treat you when you get old? Set an example now and remember the golden rule.
Earlier last week I met two people of older age, everything about them was different. One works with his son, has a sparkle in his eye and looks forward to growing old surrounded by family. The other had no life about him, though eminently intelligent he had no one around him. His life appears empty and meaningless compared the the first gentleman.
So here’s the thought, what kind of elder do you want to be? Do you want have nothing to give to your future generations, or do you want to have experience and knowledge to pass down?