Last Saturday, I received the answer to a prayer I’ve been praying for more than 5 years. Philip was visited by his great grandparents (my paternal grandparents). My lola read him a poem she wrote for him and then she and my lolo prayed a blessing over him. It was a short moment, but a meaningful one. I’m excited for him to get older and get to know them better. That’s 80 years of wisdom there.
I think part of the reason I wanted this is because I have really great memories of my great-grandmother. When I turned six, I received a card from her that contained the verse 1 Timothy 4:12
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
I remember reading it and thinking, “Now that’s not like the other birthday cards I got.” Even at that age I knew it was a lot to be telling a six year old. Little did I know that that verse would be a significant part of my life through all my teen years and beyond. I would share it countless time with students that I’d encounter. Clearly, that 90+ year old with failing eyesight could still see much further than I could.
And that’s just the truth about the older generation. They can definitely see things the younger one can’t, by simply being older. Just like this current generation will be able to see the same for the one that comes after. If only we could learn to work with and reach across generations, think of how much we could all accomplish together! The youth and energy of the young coupled with the wisdom and experience of the old.
But sadly it’s not that easy. Individually, the generation gap between us and our parents gets more pronounced and years of misunderstandings can become longstanding grudges. Socially, it’s easier to associate with people of the same age bracket because they ‘get’ us better. Reaching up to the older ones is too difficult and reaching down to the younger ones is too much work.
If left unchecked, it could have terrible consequences on a nation. If a younger generation loses touch with the values of the older generation, they could halt and even undo the successes of the past. If an older generation stops carrying about the ones coming next, what’s the point of everything they’ve gained now, if not to pass it on? After all, a society is only as great as its ability to pass on whatever it’s gained to those who come after.
Clearly, our connections across generations are so of our greatest resources as a nation, as societies, as families, and as individuals.
- The company that can build on the previous generation’s values while adapting to the current one will weather the changes of time while staying true to its goal.
- The nation that can successfully raise up its next generation will be assured of prosperity and development for decades to come.
- The family that can keep relational ties strong through many generations will have a rich legacy to pass on that’s greater than any financial inheritance.
- And the individual who learns how to connect to the older generations will have a wisdom and maturity beyond their years that can be leveraged all his life.
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