I visited my hometown this week; while there I had the privilege of speaking with an elder in our community and I was honored. I learned vast history in the span of a conversation. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what’s happening today and rush through life but if you don’t take time to learn history… “You are condemned to repeat it” per George Santayana. When was the last time you spent time with a senior citizen or even took time to help them by cutting a yard, picking up groceries, or even just having a great conversation with one? It’s the small things that can make someone’s day and for a senior it could make their month.
I adore spending time with seniors because they are an untapped resource for wisdom. The things most have experienced are amazing such as World War II, Vietnam War and desegregation in addition to seeing leaders like Martin Luther King Jr, John F. Kennedy and Malcom X actually working in the nation. Often, interactions with the elderly are quick or rushed but imagine what could be learned if we slowed down and listened to them. Think about it, they have been blessed to see centuries and just by sitting and listening they can speak encouragement, growth and change in your life. Also, with age many unlock secret knowledge of life that younger generations just don’t get, like morals and values.
While speaking with this precious asset, she told me about entrepreneurship in the community and many black owned businesses. She spoke of the churches and the growth within our small town; she even told me that originally when she was just a girl, they would travel to a creek to be baptized. I also learned a little more about my family that I didn’t know. I think my favorite part was speaking about children; she was very honest about what she thought about my generation.
This post came about because as I spoke to her, it became very clear how my current generations have gotten off track. Instead of cherishing elders, they are often disrespected and forgotten; left in “retirement communities” or nursing homes to pass. Yet, just like you or I they desire to be loved on, talked to, and appreciated. We get so busy in our lives we forget about them and that’s not fair. I recently saw on the news that while playing that knock out game, a young man punched an elderly man and knocked him out; I was disgusted. It’s not acceptable to treat anyone like that, especially our golden aged pillars of the community.
With so many things happening in the world today, please let’s not forget about our elderly; especially with holidays approaching. Take time out of your busy schedules to seek and spend time with someone 65 and up; learn from them. It is important to cultivate our communities and we do that by learning from our history. When was the last time you talked to Ms. Green down the street or took cookies to Mr. Banks next door? Did you call Big Momma or Granny this week or last? Why not take the time out to do it now before it’s too late? If you don’t have grandparents then adopt one from your local nursing home. A simple visit or phone call can make someone’s day special.