How old do you have to be in order to be wise?
I'm not exactly a spring chicken anymore and lately I've had a lot of other clucks talk to me about how difficult it is to get older. While some problems are solved - like acne and nervousness around certain personalities - other problems seem to escalate. We find that it takes us longer to do chores that were a snap when we were younger. We have a hard time being tolerant of "new and improved". We wish we had more money and why don't they have padded seats at the mall food court?
Even when we voice our opinions, we can make jokes and laugh at the little things like a woman's power surge (hot flash) and wondering if we will ever find that second set of keys. Unfortunately too many older people suffer in silence with the big stuff like arthritis, cancer and feeling alone. We try to hold on to life as it was, but sadly we watch as youth speeds away from us. We continue to rattle along in our outdated car in the back of the crowd.
Today's child has not been told about the greatest invention in the history of the world.
Learn from your past or you will continue to re-invent the wheel!
Wisdom tempered by age is one of God's greatest gifts. A young person can be mature "for his age" and "wise beyond his years". But his frame of reference can alter any wisdom he may have. My father tells a story of being a young pastor and holding the hands of an elderly woman before she was to go into surgery. When she admitted she was afraid he smiled and quoted all the statistics and facts of encouragement he could. She was not relieved. He prayed and sent her down the hall to surgery. Several years later, he reached out for a comforting hand before he was to go to surgery. His family prayed with him. He was sure he had all the knowledge needed to face this surgery. Yet, as the surgeon smiled at him and said, "Ready?" My wise father felt fear grip his heart. His only response......"Don't cut on me until I'm out!"
There is something deep and profound about the wisdom of experience. It takes many years and experiences to blend with the facts of life and produce a wisdom that will properly guide us on our journey through life.
Recently I was talking with a very young publisher. He was not kind in his evaluation of the need for books on "parenting" information. "People of your age need to realize that my generation doesn't want to parent. We have more fun things to do like video games and we are not going to give them up for anyone - not even our children. We believe that all a child needs is a hug and their basic needs met. Training just isn't something we want to do."
No, I didn't hit him! I starred at him in disbelief and honestly wondered how he achieved his position. I am sure he didn't pass the literature class that included the classic "Lord of the Flies" and he probably doesn't turn off his video games long enough to listen to the news. I snapped back to reality when he informed me he had just adopted an 11 month old baby. I smiled, said thank you and found a quiet place to pray for that child.
This uninformed young professional probably thinks he is wise. But when that child reaches those difficult teen years and hasn't had the benefit of wise instructions - he will find out how wrong he was. Not only will his child suffer, but the father will live with a broken heart.
Life is tougher in old age because that's when we see the consequences of life. We stand on the edge of eternity and look back to see the full effect of our decisions. We can see all the results of those decisions and how they impacted the lives, relationships, spirituality and love of those we came in contact with. That can be very painful. And out of that pain we want to share. We want to tell those around us what we did wrong and beg them to make their lives better.
All of us can find true wisdom by forgetting the generation gap and learning to ask questions and listen to the wisdom of our elders that has been fired by the experiences of life. You don't have to act on everything that is said - but listening will broaden your ability to make good decisions.
We need to train our young children now to value time spent with the older generation. It is a must in raising good children that we teach them to love and respect those who have gone so far in this human journey. Loving and respecting others will always make us wiser no matter what our current age.
God loves you.