As I have gotten older, I have a growing revelation of an overall lack of value for the elderly in our culture, which has resulted in an obsession with everyone trying to look young. There is a secret yet deep-seated fear among the aged of being terminated from the life-blood of our communities by being relegated to the shadows of society.
The lengths the elderly go through to disguise themselves as youthful highlights the fear they have of being cast into the land of shadows – the lonely, purposeless place where the aged wait to die.
This has led to numerous dysfunctions and brokenness in our communities that affect every corner of society, from the family to the work place. Succession and inheritance have often been replaced with entitlement, where the young vultures circle, waiting to feast on the accomplishments of another man’s work.
Of course, empowering the next generation and leaving an inheritance to our children’s children is not only Biblical, it’s noble. But there’s a fine line between inheritance and entitlement. That line is crossed when ambition is not cloaked in humility and honor. Like the prodigal son who demanded his inheritance that he neither worked for nor deserved, there is a generation rising that feels entitled, impatient and ungrateful.
What’s the solution?
The elderly must:
- Have a legacy mindset in which they have a vision for their children’s children’s children – a generation they will never see.
- Be generous and pour themselves into the generation that is following them.
- Be themselves and embrace the beauty of experience, wisdom, and perseverance that is earned with age.
- Find young people to pour into that are hungry, humble and teachable.
- Demonstrate the superior advantage of character that can only be forged through years of trials and faithfulness.
- Learn to value a generation that thinks differently and doesn’t like your music.
- Brave their insecurities, and resist the temptation to control the people that they are called to empower.
The younger generation must:
- Honor and value the aged by learning to understand the benefits and beauty of longevity and perseverance.
- Temper their ambition with humility and patience.
- Resist the temptation to promote themselves or demand a position or possession.
- Remind themselves that inheritance is a privilege, not a right; therefore, it is something that’s not demanded.
- Remember that all old people were once young, so they have a pretty good idea what it’s like to be your age. On the other hand, no young person has ever been old, so it’s encumbered upon them to listen with their heart to people who are at a place in life that they have never been.
- Be thankful for ANY benefit you’ve received from older people, and cultivate contentment.
- Help the dreams and desires of the elderly be realized. Promotion is always predicated by service.
These are the ways of nobility – this is the royal path to promotion.