3 Ways Elder and Younger People Should Honor One Another

My doctor started it. Medical charts don’t lie. He knows how old I am. I’ve tried all of the tricks: Photoshop edits, neck-covering, and youthful clothes. But, truth be told, I’m old. Not really old, but semi-old.

Age happens. It chaps my hide when people treat me differently because of it.  All of us have unique challenges, so why don’t we make it easier on each other?

A little understanding goes a long way. With that in mind, here are three ways ‘spring chickens’ can love ‘old people,’ and three ways elders should love those younger.

To those who are still young, my senior heart wishes that you would: 

1. Keep loving me.

Assure me that you will still care when I get wrinkly and gray (and possibly pudgy). God still loves me, old or young, warts and all. I fear being rejected or forgotten.

He promises:

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with loving-kindness I have drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you.” – Jeremiah 31:3 AMP 

2. Listen respectfully.

I’m smart (occasionally). I can teach you a lot. 

No one cares if I earned a Doctor’s degree. The IRS just wants to know if I paid my taxes on time. The reason older people want to share what they have learned is because they want to save you the grief of making the stupid mistakes they made when they were younger.

We really have been around the block. We know what’s on the other side of the hill because we are over the hill.  

The Apostle Paul writes: “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:15-16 KJV

The basic meaning of Latin circumspicere is “to look around.” It implies a careful consideration of all circumstances and a desire to avoid mistakes and bad consequences. 

However, I must not infer that the “good old days” are better than the present. Untrue.  

 “Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.” – Proverbs 11:14 MSG

3. Connect with me.

I have many dear Facebook friends who used to hate me. Some left our church for one reason or another. When you are old, the little stuff in the past doesn’t matter anymore. (At least it shouldn’t). Friends are important. They are worth keeping. 

King Solomon aptly wrote, “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.” – Ecclesiastes 1:1. KJV 

This phrase does not mean life is a waste. Vanity simply means mist. Time flies. You don’t get it back. 

Now is the time to show appreciation, affection and affirmation to the elders in your life. They won’t be around forever. 

When you are seven, your birthday seems like a century away. When you are old, you rack up birthdays like poker chips. Make every moment count. Love deeply…like Christ loves you.

Now, let’s preach to the choir. Here’s my advice to elders on how to love ‘spring chickens.’ As an old person, I need to step up to the plate for those who are still in the game. How should I honor those who are wrinkle-free? Here are three ways:

1. Let go.

Little birdies need to fly.

Animals are smarter than people. They push their young out of the nest or into the wild to grow and flourish. Old people want to hang on rather than release control to their successors. 

Sagely, Paul advises:

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. Instead, set an example for the believers through your speech, behavior, love, faith, and by being sexually pure.”– 1 Timothy 4:12 CEB 

Paul encouraged Timothy. Some church deacon told Timothy he was too young and inexperienced to be the pastor. Timothy was more than capable.

Use your influence to empower and encourage the young. 

2. Keep up. 

Since we were here first, old people assume that a younger generation’s culture and technology should adapt to them. Not true. Take the time and energy to relate. Be relevant. 

I took my new iPhone to the Verizon guy to fix a glitch. Thirty minutes later, the guy was still mystified by my issue. He reluctantly handed the phone to his manager. The manager chuckled and confessed a four-year-old kid taught him how to fix the problem last week!   

If you want to relate to your kids and/or grandkids, use their technology. Go to their soccer games and recitals. 

Be involved in the activities they love. Be passionately engaged in their world. 

Paul referred to the importance of relating to others in his letter to the Corinthians:

“Yes, whatever a person is like, I try to find common ground with him so that he will let me tell him about Christ.” – I Corinthians 9:22 LB 

Entering someone’s world builds trust. Be the hands and feet of Jesus to the next generation. 

3. Grow wise. 

Seniors have a reputation for being childish and set in their ways. Shame on us! 

Spiritual maturity implies that we walk more closely with God. I love the fact that Moses was so intimate with Jehovah, he was buried by God’s own hand. 

Old Paul knew the secret of aging God’s way: 

“This is the reason why we never collapse. The outward man does indeed suffer wear and tear, but every day the inward man receives fresh strength. These little troubles (which are really so transitory) are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain. For we are looking all the time not at the visible things but at the invisible. The visible things are transitory: it is the invisible things that are really permanent.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 J.B. Phillips New Testament

My husband Roger had a spiritual mentor. Albert Fox was his Sunday School teacher and friend. Mr. Fox walked alongside Roger every day, loving him, praying for him, and teaching him how to be a dynamic follower of Jesus.

Roger visited his spiritual father in the hospital. Albert had an inoperable brain tumor and was near death. He quietly whispered into Roger’s ear, “Son, I want you to see how a Christian dies.”

Roger was never the same. He was imprinted for life by his spiritual father. 

Less of me, more of Jesus. That’s what spring chickens need to see from us elders!

Dr. Julie Barrier is an author, international conference speaker and minister of Casas Church for three decades. She now serves as CEO of Preach It, Teach It, providing free resources for pastors, missionaries and Bible students.

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5 Life Lessons I Wish I’d Learned before 50

3. Cherish Dear Friends

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We’re blessed to have friends as we go through life. We start collecting them when we’re very young. Some friendships are short-lived and some last a lifetime.

Truth is, we may only have a few dear friends. Those people we can count on for anything. They’re there for you in the good times and in the bad times. You truly enjoy their company and miss them when they’re gone. Unfortunately, we don’t always have as much time with these friends as we’d like.

Last fall we made a trip to Florida and stopped by our dear friend’s new house in Georgia along the way. Then later, they took the short drive to our rented beach house and visited with us. We ended our time together eating dinner at a seafood restaurant and planning a possible trip together in the spring of 2020.

Unfortunately, we were never able to take the trip due to COVID-19 and never got to spend any more time with our dear friends in the way we planned.

Instead, we ended up at a funeral just a few weeks ago. One of them passed away suddenly from a brain bleed.

Of course, we’re devastated at the loss of our dear friend and can’t imagine the world without him. But we’re so thankful we took the time on our vacation to find them along the way and visit with them.

Though we have many wonderful memories with our dear friends, I wish we’d made more. Life is short and dear friends are few. Make memories with them as often as possible.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. – Proverbs 17:17

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10 Gifts Grandparents Can Give Their Grandkids That No One Else Can

Studies have shown that the giving of gifts can develop and strengthen relationships. Evidence also indicates that gift-giving helps us feel a greater sense of happiness. In fact, neurologists suggest that our brains are wired to derive pleasure from giving.

If all this is true, why then do so many grandparents find gift-giving to be such a source of frustration and contention?

The struggle is real.

Just last week, I listened as once again a grandmother friend shared her pain in feeling that her gifts for her grandchildren paled in comparison to the expensive, extravagant gifts they received from their other grandparents. Her solution? Spend more money!

But is that the answer? A quick internet search showed that the average grandparent spends about $200 per child on holiday gifts. I don’t know about you, but with eleven grandchildren that is certainly out of my reach. Trying to out-do or even keep up with those numbers would certainly put me into gift-giving debt. It would also take every bit of fun right out of something that should bring me joy!

Rather than trying to impress our grandchildren or out-spend the other grandparents by spending money we don’t have, perhaps the answer is to gain a new perspective by clarifying our focus.

Why do we give gifts to our grandchildren, anyway?

We give gifts to show our grandchildren that we love them. Gift-giving expresses our feelings and communicates value. It builds connection and deepens our relationship.

And we do this best when our gifts come from the heart not the wallet. Consider these 10 gifts that you can naturally give:

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