“Don’t trust anyone over 30.” Jack Weinberg.
“There are people over 30 I trust. I’m over 30, and I trust me.” Eldridge Cleaver
“Every man over forty is a scoundrel.” George Bernard Shaw
There seems to be a recurring theme of trust, or at least lack of trust with the older generation, and it goes back in time. Why is that? What has the older generation done to deserve the black eye? I have no idea, but maybe we can figure it out together.
What I really want to talk about is how we as an American culture have seen fit to put older people out to pasture. Other cultures around the world actually reverence older people. They honor them and care for them, knowing that they have wisdom to impart. They have been down the roads that the younger generation is contemplating.
Maybe it IS a trust factor. Maybe that old saying of “Don’t trust anyone over 30” is still alive and well. With the aging baby boomers, it would have to be scaled up to anyone over 40 or 50.
I can’t fix this by myself people, but I think it is worth addressing, even if we do it one relationship at a time.
If you are under 40, I am asking you to do something out of your comfort zone. Show respect to your elders. You want to be respected, right? Show respect. Honor the people you know that are older. Use them as a source of counsel. Take advantage of their wisdom and knowledge…just don’t take advantage of them. Let them mentor you, encourage you, warn you. Older people may just keep you from making some serious mistakes that could ruin your life. Don’t let your pride and ego get in the way. We can learn something from everyone, regardless of age. If you really want to learn something, talk to someone in their 70s and 80s. They are awesome sources of information, and just plain fascinating to listen to because of all they have experienced.
If you are over 50, I am asking you to do something out of your comfort zone. Reach out to the younger generation and mentor someone. There is a difference in giving advice and mentoring. Learn the difference. The younger generation is filled with people that are eager to learn and just want someone to SHOW them the way. If you are going to take that step and mentor someone, PLEASE don’t muddy the waters by compromising your morals or basic human values. What I mean by that is that the younger generation is not going to respect you if they see you doing things illegal, immoral, or just plain stupid. Don’t do things or encourage them to do things that you know are wrong. That will break trust and be hard to repair. Show respect for the younger generation. Respect goes two ways. Never forget that.
So, how is your trust factor now? Hopefully I have given you food for thought, but I really hope I have motivated you to action. Let’s restore the trust between the generations. It will take both sides working at it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be put out to pasture. I know I still have a lot to contribute to this world, but I need the younger generation. They are our legacy. Let’s agree to make our legacy something that is healthy, vibrant, and growing. The future generations depend on that, so let’s do our part, one relationship at a time. Deal?