I absolutely love hearing stories from older generations. My own grandpa, a WWII veteran, is a wealth of information. Yes, he’s alive and well in his 90s, raising horses, gardening, and reading in his down time. (I think he said his list of books read in 2021 topped 88.) He is full of wisdom, knowledge, and stories, but the funny thing is—he doesn’t seem to realize it. In his quiet, humble way, he goes about his days like anyone else, not realizing the value of what he has to offer from his wealth of life experience.
If we don’t ask questions and start conversations with the elders in our lives, they may never share their wealth of wisdom and experience! Isn’t that a tragic thought?
Several years ago, when I set out to write historical fiction, I had the privilege of interviewing my grandpa. Even though he’s quiet and unassuming, he’s happy to share when someone asks questions.
I learned loads about him and my grandma from that interview, including personal war stories you’d never see in a history book. In my opinion, knowing family history greatly enriches a person’s heart and life.
With age comes a special kind of wisdom and understanding that is only gained through living a long life. So let’s ask questions while we have the opportunity! Invite the ones who lived through the Holocaust, polio, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and all the conflicts since and in-between to speak into our lives. Let them give us things to think about that we’ve never before considered. Let them say things that challenge our current opinions and assumptions.
MAKE GOD SMILE
It’s never too late to start conversations with those of advanced years. We might just be surprised what we learn. And not only does it show them they are honored and valued; I think it makes God smile. Not only do I think he smiles, I think he’s deeply pleased because this has been his plan all along. Take these verses, for instance:
Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. –Leviticus 19:32a
Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked. –1Kings 12:6
WE ALL HAVE MUCH TO LEARN
I recently released a free historical romance novella here on my website (www.jessiemattis.com) called LOVE ON A WHIM. The idea for the plot was sparked by a one-paragraph blurb I read about one woman’s experience during World War II. Her story of meeting and exchanging addresses with a Europe-bound soldier passing through Ohio when his train made a quick stop was enough to ignite an entire story in my mind. This was a starting point I could never have thought of myself, as I’d never even heard of the canteens that were set up at train stations to serve soldiers passing through at the time. I’m so thankful I had a glimpse into that woman’s personal story from the 1940s.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we all have a lot to learn, and our elders are a great starting point. God’s design of families and different generations is a beautiful gift in so many ways. Let’s use his gift well.
Do you enjoy chatting and gleaning wisdom from older people in your life? Tell me more in the comments – I love these types of stories! And if you haven’t already subscribed, I’d love to have you join my monthly newsletter list. You’ll get my free LOVE ON A WHIM ebook as well as monthly inspiration and humor delivered right to your inbox. Thanks for reading, and have a great week!