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  • Writer's pictureJeff Monday

Wanted: Elders

It's nothing new. It happens all the time. I've done it. You've done it. Our parents have definitely done it. As long as there has been a younger generation, we've blamed them for everything that's wrong with the world today.

'Damn kids! Always on my lawn!'

'Damn Millennials! Walking around like they rent the place!'

'Stupid teens! Eating Tide Pods/bashing mailboxes/dyeing their hair!'

'Why, when I was your age..."

Yada yada yada.

We all want to believe that our music was the best, our education was better, our politicians were noble. That life was better before the younger generation ruined it.

And hey, maybe there's a bit of truth in there somewhere. I know I was raised to respect those older than me--a character trait I don't see as much anymore. But then again, I know plenty of people my age and older who are just as rude as a teenager. And let's be honest, when I was sixteen, I probably said a few things to the adults in my life that wasn't entirely respectful.

How did we get to this mentality? This gen v. gen attitude? Not every culture has it. Many people live in harmony with their children and honor their older members. They don't blame each other for the ills of society, they work together to fix them. They learn from each other. The wisdom of the adults, the free-spirit and creativity of the youth.

We're missing something.

And I think what we're missing is Elders.

An Elder isn't just an elderly grandmother or someone who speaks the language of their homeland. No, an Elder is someone who has knowledge, is willing to share that knowledge, and help guide you. Not protect you, but guide you. They let you make mistakes. They help you learn from those mistakes.

And they love you. Even when you screw up.

House Mothers. Academic mentors. Even older brothers and sisters. All are Elders who share their wisdom with others. But so do authors and musicians and artists of all kinds. And teachers and even that old man at the end of the bar who will tell you stories of his youth if you take the time to listen to him.

This world is beautiful and amazing and far more than any of us realize. But it's also hurting and needs us to stop fighting with each other and work together. We need more Elders to share with us. Even more importantly, WE need to step up and become the Elders the younger generations need.

So share your stories. Tell your tales. Teach those that will listen and listen to those that wish to teach. You don't have all the answers but you don't need them. You hold some of them and that's enough. We all can learn. We all can teach.

If we want to.

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