Multi-generational relationships are such undervalued assets in today’s world. We dismiss people younger than us as stupid kids who don’t understand the real world and we get upset with people older than us because they are out of touch and just don’t get it. The truth is that we are the stupid kids who just don’t get it.
Those people old enough to be yours parents (and maybe grandparents) have seen decades of life that you never have and never will. That problem that you think you are the first human to experience? They have seen it play out 4 different ways at least a half-dozen times.
The stupid kids that could be your baby brothers and sisters still hold out hope that Narnia is on the other side of the wardrobe and that the chocolate bar contains the golden ticket. They haven’t been ruined (or at least not as severely) by the cynicism of today’s world.
You put both of those groups together with their experience, insights, gifts, and imagination and you will never see the world the same way again. I have been fortunate to have been a part of groups (several still active today) that are comprised of people 27 to 72. The conversation is unreal and I never walk out the door thinking the same way I did when I walked in.
It’s easy, not to mention human nature, to gravitate towards people who look like you, act like you, and share your views on the world. It’s comfortable. That should tip you off right away that it’s of little value. When you listen to interviews and podcasts what are the two things that seem to pop up in every success story?
- They had a mentor (usually older, but definitely in a different stage of life)
- The meaningful growth happened outside their comfort zone
It’s time to learn from those with more years under their belt about the world around you and figure out how you will leave your mark on it by channeling the optimism of the young.
Thanks to Brian and Tonya for being the inspiration for this post after our usual “Tacos and Tecates” dinner. Also, a thanks to Barrett Brooks for pushing me to write again because he knows I love it and that I need it.