Last year, I had an epiphany: I realized that I actually know stuff! I’m almost 40 years old, and I’ve had enough experience in what works and what doesn’t in life that I’m actually able to help other people avoid mistakes and be more successful, both in their Christian walk and in life in general.
I also realized that if I had only put more effort into drawing on the experience of older people, I could have avoided many of life’s pitfalls. If I had only gotten good advice, I could have been healthier, happier and more prosperous. I could have owned my home outright by now if I hadn’t messed up my finances so badly.
Now I have a whole new appreciation for the older generation. I’ve discovered that the life-experience of every person is a treasure trove, waiting to be unlocked and put to use. Maybe your grandparents can’t advise you on teen fashion, but there are many subjects that are timeless: human relationships, career development, deciding where to live, how to prosper and how to use money wisely.
Ask your older friends and relatives what they would do differently if they could start over. Ask them about what went well and what went badly in their marriages and careers. Ask them about the hurts and triumphs in their lives. You may find it an eye-opening experience!
Perhaps your Aunt Millie will tell you about the time she just barely escaped the clutches of a cad (someone who tries to take advantage of others) who was sweet-talking a dozen women, promising them all his undying love, when all he really wanted was to drain their bank accounts. Or your grandmother might tell you that her greatest sorrow in life was that her husband wasn’t home enough and worked himself into an early grave to give her things—when all she really wanted was him.
Bridge the generation gap! You’ll be glad you opened up this forgotten treasure-trove of experience. Don’t wait until you are old to discover this important truth. YU