For most of human culture, people with experience and wisdom were given respect. People who were able to live to be “older” were valued for the many things they had been witness to and the decisions which they had a part in making for the betterment of their community. They did not always get it right. Their wisdom or experience was not always followed but they were heard and respected. In recent history in North American culture, the wisdom of the elders is not respected in the same way! In youth striving cultures, age has lost respect especially when media and technology strives to worship the “new and shiny” rather than experiencial thinking. In many ways, this is as it should be. Past generations have proven to be conservative and slow to adopt newer technologies. The crisis created in this scenario relates to the youngest of our world being insulated from the spiritual wisdom and the emotional experience of older community members.
In the modern world in North America, older people are herded into “retirement facility” or “retirement communities” where they do not live the day to day struggles with babies, young children, struggling adolescents, or young working adults. How can they be role models of patience or compassion born of experience? How can their epiphanies of living through familiar life struggles be shared in less dramatic and more “real” ways to serve the emotional growth of the youngest community members?
I am not speaking about religion or philosophies or fear born responses to life. I am speaking about Universal truths and wisdom which comes of age and experience. I am speaking of empathy born out of living through similar life challenges. For me, becoming a parent at age 35 opened new doors of empathy for families. I relearned how to shed tears in my new emotional responses and empathy. Now, as a new grandpa, I ask how I can serve my grandson’s hard working parents? What is my role so I can provide insight from my life experience? Especially, I ask myself, what role modeling of spiritual (not religious beliefs) wisdom can I offer to serve the spiritual needs of my grandson? He is still a baby but what can I create for him NOW and for later in his life that will share the lessons I have known and learned from?
Maybe this is not my responsibility. Perhaps this is best left to his busy parents or to school or to his own path through life. I doubt that I can trust the media, technology, or his peers to provide a role model of consciousness development that I can, as an elder, agree would be best for his long term benefit and for the larger world. How can I share with him that he is a miracle and perfect in his life when our culture will want to bully him into conformity and accepting the competitive separateness which our culture seems to worship? How can I convey as a role model or through words and actions that he is a unique piece of the Divine Spirit? How can I share with him that the painful challenges and difficult people he will face are a part of important lessons he is meant to have for his awareness process? And, how can I help him to remember the Divine source from which he comes and where he will return? Perhaps by role modeling, I can show him how to find the joy in grief and other difficult challenges and how to turn these into experiences which will lead to service to our world…
Our culture needs to be reminded of the value of Elders and Grandparents. Elders and Grandparents need to step up, get off their couches and then share their wisdom born from living their lives. Not to be annoying, opinionated, meddling “menschs” but supportive, positive guides. Busy parents need to pay attention to the value of connecting their children with their ancestors and their treasured elders, if these people exist. Respect needs to be re-learned by all sides of this equation.
My current plan is to write spiritual blogs, do interviews with other elders, perhaps write some of my insights, AND to hold my grandson to share my love and to remind him of his perfection and Divinity. If time allows, I will be a role model of acceptance and unconditional love. Maybe my shared stories of the “awakenings” I have experienced will find him when he is able to hear and to benefit from these. I will gather a list of the books, trainings, and experiences which have lead me in positive ways as a possible road map of what is possible. In some way, I hope to encourage his own exploration of consciousness. My gut tells me he will have to find his own way to fight off the bullying of our society to push him to conform to its lowest common denominator.
Please consider and share your reactions. How can the Wisdom keepers share their learnings born of life experience? Most importantly, how can we better serve the Spiritual learning for our youngest members without indoctrinating them into fear based separation and paternally driven philosophies? Celebrate Wisdom and the Divine Spirit!
Thanks for your time and consideration. Your insights and experiences are unique and a blessing, so please share these…
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You are a Blessing! You are a Master! Your wisdom from your life experience can have great value to other pilgrims on the path toward awakening and enlightenment.
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