1. As we get older, we don’t get more stupid or incompetent. We may express ourselves poorly. We may even forget words and some events. But for the most part, we don’t get stupid with age.
2. With old age, we often get more tired or at least don’t have the stamina we once did. It may seem we have gotten downright lazy. It’s possible, but after 60 or 70 years of working and raising kids, you may find yourselves in the same condition some day. There’s a reason most of us raised kids when we were young. We often realize it after a day or two with our grandchildren. We love being with them, but when they are gone, we look at each other and wonder, “How did we raise 3 kids?” (or however many we did raise!)
3. Just because we don’t hear/see/balance as well as we once did, doesn’t mean we are stupid or senile either. Some people including co-workers miss this. They assume that when someone can’t hear them and respond the first time, they have lost it. Poor hearing doesn’t equal stupid. It just means you need to look at the person when you talk and enunciate your words better (as opposed to speaking louder…a mistake I commonly make with my husband). It can especially be problematic on the phone! Speaking loudly into the phone makes it much more difficult to hear than if you talk softer and enunciate as I’m finding with my early, minor hearing loss.
Along with this I need to add some other aspects of our senses such as vision. We are often wearing bifocals or have limited vision for other reasons. They affect our peripheral vision…both to the side and below. It used to be that children were taught not to run in public but parents are not as careful about that now so I want to mention here some of the reasons WHY this is important.
Older people or those who are impaired in some of these areas that may not even be very old, who will be in large groups of people will absolutely be affected. People who can’t hear well can’t hear the approach of your child, can’t see them well if their peripheral vision is poor and if their reaction time and/or balance is impaired (as often happens with elderly)…yes, older or sicker than I, but elderly just the same…you can see what a perfect storm it is!
Please help your children, no matter what age, learn to pay attention to the people around them when in public because not everyone around them can see and hear and balance as well as they can. There was a good reason for that old rule. It was boring and we might not have known it, but I’m here to tell you why it was there. You might say it is a way of honoring your, or someone else’s parents or grandparents.
4. With age, we often learn to speak out on important issues and be quiet on others. We may actually become a little more blunt. Don’t take that as our being mad at you. Take it for what it is. We made so many mistakes when we were younger and we want you to avoid them. Yes, we know it probably won’t help. That’s why we try to keep quiet about the unimportant things. But if you see your kids or friends running in front of a train, sometimes you feel the need to run after them and yell even if you know they will be mad at you for now. It is instinctual. (hopefully, that is a word!)
5. With age, if we were able to develop some wisdom, we managed to figure out how to put knowledge and experience together...sometimes for the first time. Some things finally start to make sense as we see the endings of stories we saw the beginnings of 20, 30 or 40 years ago.
Sometimes, we have the luxury of writing a blog like I do. Other times, we say what we think in person. I do a little of both! Most of the time, I’m able to wait until my kids ask for advice now since I can write advice to anonymous people.
But I can now look back on my life and the outcomes of many of the lives of others I have known and see what happened when people lived/behaved certain ways. Shoot, I can see the outcomes of some of my own behaviors! I can warn about some, encourage you to continue in others, and maybe tell you not to sweat others.
(Part II will continue next Wednesday…this got too long to put it all here!)
There is a command in Scripture to honor your father and mother. At other places, it mentions honoring those who have hoary (gray) heads. I know from experience that it is something that doesn’t come naturally. I don’t want to slow down or talk slower or defer to whatever degree I need to. I just want to go through my life the way I want to. I don’t want to change in ways I need to or listen to advice that is good for me!
Often, honoring doesn’t always mean listening to everything they have to say, it can also mean deferring to someone who is weaker in some way, in the sense that we walk slower when we are around them, or we talk more clearly and look at them or whatever form it may take. And we do it without groaning.
How do you need to love or honor an older person in your world?