Friday, August 2, 2013

On Old People

My grandpa's wheat field in May.
There is a problem with modern teens.

Before I get into the problem, however, let me talk about one particular symptom of that problem: a lack of foresight and depth in today's youth.

This mostly deals with the focus of a teenager's life. That is, we tend to think a lot about temporal things. And whether we realize it or not, we have been deceived into thinking that those things have lasting value.

Video games would be a popular example – but before I use it, let me backtrack here and give a whole lot of disclaimers. I'm not trying to guilt anyone into thinking that they shouldn't play video games at all, and I'm not saying that video games are bad things.

But the point stands that video games have no lasting value. They don't contribute to a person's emotional, spiritual, or relational depth, which is one reason why there are quite a few shallow people in the world.

Things like that crop up all the time in a teenager's life. Even conversation, which has the potential for lasting value, can end up being one long string of meaningless blonde jokes.

A preoccupation with temporal things shows that we don't know just how temporal they are. We have the wrong perspective. We can't see into the future far enough to realize that we had better spend our time on better things.

Of course, this symptom can be caused by a number of things, just like nausea can be caused by both malaria and the flu. And in no way am I stating the primary cause of this shallowness; but I think this is one of the causes.

Very simply stated, young people as a whole don't spend enough time with old people. In fact, we spend so little time with them that we think they're boring, and nothing could be further from the truth.

As a rule, actually, old people are far more interesting than young people. Sorry, teenagers, but you guys are flat-out boring compared to the grayhairs that sit at donut shops on Saturday mornings.

You see, “old people” give us perspective on life. They've gone through a whole lot more than we have. They've learned things the hard way; and we won't have to if we listen to them long enough. They know what sort of approaches work in life and what sorts don't. There are so many things that they've learned that we have yet to learn, and we'll get a head start if we learn it from them.

Because a lot of old people, being so much closer to death than we are, have learned quite a few things about life and what's really important. Of course, there are always exceptions, but for the most part there are a lot of giants in the faith that young people tend to forget about.

So if you have to pick one thought to take away, take away this one: spend time with the grayhairs. They have stories to tell if only you listen.


  1. And they're the only ones that will geek out over Russian composers with you.

  2. Only just found your blog today. I really appreciate this post. I do agree with you about the younger generation. I personally spend more time with older people than younger. My coworkers are in their late 30s and up and my grandparents live with us so I see them a lot--both groups of people are way more interesting than young people I meet. I'd choose to spend time with an older person any day of the week over a younger person. xD You end up learning a lot.
    Good post though! Can't wait to see what else you are going to blog!

  3. Hey, A.W.! Thanks for the comment! I'm glad you liked the post. More to come, hopefully.

    Actually, I think I've seen you once before, couple years back; I followed Seth Reid's blog in the days when he still blogged.

    Thanks again!

  4. Jake,you might remember my comment on the above writing. I told you I would rather be refered to as eldery than old, and you reminded me in Liberia old was a title of respect. I remembered how I liked being called "Ole Ma" and I realize now it was because it was said with respect. I wish that would become true in America. Ole Ma Buller