Why You Really Should Listen to Your Elders

Written by Angela Atkinson

vs_elders_01After Nance Rosen’s comment on yesterday’s post regarding the facts about losing 100 pounds,  felt like it would be appropriate to continue the discussion. Today, we are focusing on our elders.

In part, Nance said, “There’s ALL kinds of ‘invisible’ people, or people who get overlooked, labeled lazy or treated as stupid. People with physical handicaps. The elderly. Youngsters (with opinions). People from cultures that are quieter than the typical American. Introverts. Ambiverts. People coping with illness, physical and mental. Parents who have to hold down two or more jobs and support several kids. People who work fast food. People who use food support debit cards. Kids who need school lunches. Anyone with an accent other than British.”

“The list is long,” she continued. “The point is: we are not in high school and no one is with the cool kids. Everyone goes home to their own concerns – and most people are alone with them. Even the happy, well-treated, slim, strong and beautiful people.”

Right on, sister.

Way too often, I see people around me minimizing the value of the older generation. People roll their eyes when an elder doesn’t understand some of our current technology or asks too many questions. Some consider their older family members more of a burden than an amazing resource.

The truth is, even those elders who haven’t experienced a formal education still have more life experience than your average Joe, and you can bet that they’ve learned some valuable life lessons along the way. Instead of feeling burdened by them, take a few minutes to actually listen the next time your grandma tells her stories. As her life has progressed, she has likely learned a few things that you haven’t yet.

Consider yourself lucky if one of your elders is willing to share this valuable information with you. The benefit of their knowledge and experience isn’t the only thing your elders can offer you. They can be one of the keys to understanding yourself better.

Knowing who came before you, whether biologically related or not, can be intense. I know that I have personally related to people of all ages, races and sexes in trying to come to a better understanding of myself.

After all, we are all connected. Your elders may also offer you a friendly ear when you need to talk, sage advice when you don’t know what to do, and much more. Who of us doesn’t wish we could reach into the past and have a conversation with someone who is no longer with us? Everyone has likely felt that way at some point.

Now, you can change things–take the time you’ve got to spend time with someone you love today.

Mini-Bliss Mission: Hang With Your Elders

Today, I challenge you to take a few minutes to talk with one of your elders. Call your grandma, chat with an elderly neighbor, or go visit one of your friends or family members in their homes. Whatever action you take, be sure to take a few minutes to listen to them. Remember, even if they don’t text like a pro or couldn’t send an email to save their lives–your elders have something important to say. Who knows, you might just learn something new!

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.  

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