The older I get the more I see a problem in our world.
For most of us we have to live many years to gain a bit of wisdom, wouldn’t you agree?
Then when we have gained lessons of life we would like to share them with the younger generation, in most cases to help our kids or other young people.
Yet, what do older people know?
We know that most of the youth doesn’t want to hear much of anything from their elders. They don’t want to hear that we might actually know a few things they don’t know, and that we could teach them a few lessons.
As I have aged I have learned to respect my elders and listen to others who have learned lessons in life. I don’t claim to be so perfect about all of that, but I know that I am a much better listener now than when I was younger.
I just finished putting together a special publication for a 90-year-old friend of mine, Pat Miramon, who can certainly tell you a lot of lessons in life and in business. He has been the most successful developer and builder in St. Tammany Parish history, building well over a dozen subdivisions and having a hand in thousands of homes being built in our parish.
I really do enjoy listening to Pat tell stories, and man does he have some to tell. Some of them make print and some of them don’t, but listening to him talk always reminds me that he has gained quite a lot of wisdom in the business world for nearly 70 years, and life in general.
Pat, like all of us, is getting older and looking back on his life and the many achievements he has had. I am almost 30 years younger than him and I find myself doing the exact same thing. And I certainly hope that as I get a little older I will be able to feel good about what I have done with the life the Lord has given me—as I believe Pat has done.
But it all reminds me about that initial question. How do we get younger people to listen to the wisdom of their elders? I do think there are some young folks who do respect their parents and grandparents. They speak of them in glowing terms and make it clear they don’t know how they will go on when their parents are gone.
My wife and I kind of smile and wonder what happened when we watch shows on TV where children have this tremendous love for parents. Yes, we feel very certain our four children love us, but we have never had the relationship with them where they act like they can’t possibly go on when we are not here.
I think our children have shown respect to my wife and I—for the most part. But once again, they don’t listen to every bit of advice we give them and immediately run out and follow it to the letter. Quite the contrary, they still do some things quite the opposite of what they know we would want them to do in certain situations.
So is it possible to have your children or grandkids really listen to the wisdom and lessons we have learned over the years?
I am convinced that some lessons have to happen to all young people for them to learn. Yes, we can teach some lessons, but it almost appears God wants young people to take their knocks as a way to learn, and maybe even as a way to force a decision of whether they will live a Christian kind of lifestyle—by that I mean you use your blessings to help others, and you are aware that all you have comes because of the talents and abilities the Lord has given you.
I am thankful every day that God has given me some kind of talent to write stories and put together a newspaper. And the older I get, the more appreciative I find myself for that.
But I do think God wants us to come to that conclusion on our own, sometimes by going through life’s tough times, and making a decision which way to go and which road to follow.
If our kids listened to everything we told them and never made mistakes they would grow old and think they can do it all without the Lord on their side. I don’t think that would serve them well, so maybe God actually knew what he was doing when he gave kids the “I know it all” attitude. Maybe it is because they have to stumble a few times to realize they don’t know it all.
That doesn’t mean you don’t still try to guide your kids—none of us should give up on that. But even with the wisdom of a 90-year-old, we have to learn things for ourselves. And maybe that’s really the best way to know what is right and wrong.
Kevin Chiri can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.