Photo by gracey on Morgue File.
Think about the generation immediately younger or older than you. What do you understand least about them — and what can you learn from them?
I am not sure I am qualified to respond to this prompt. You see, for most of my life I have been told that I was older than my chronological age. It has been said in many different ways to me, and it has been said for quite some time; the first time I remember it I was fourteen or fifteen years old. I have been told, you are an old man in a young man’s body (that will inspire you!). I have been told, you have old eyes. I have been told, you have a depth beyond your years.
Well, I am still not sure, all these years later, if these were meant complimentary or not! I have chosen to take them as such, but maybe I am just being optimistic!
In a sense, even when I was a teenager, or in college, I never felt my age. I never cared for parties and living it up on the weekends. I never cared to be reckless or immature (not to say I have not been these things many times over, but I did not go out of my way to be such). I just never understood all of that. I had friends that liked to do all that; but, for myself, I just did not care one thing about any of it.
Does this mean I do not like to have fun? Well, contrary to what some of those closest to me might tell you, yes I do like to enjoy myself. I am not anti-fun. Maybe it is that I define fun differently than a lot of people. You see, for me going to some frat house and drinking it up with a house full of guys acting like cavemen, grunting and burping and who knows what else, just does not appeal to my sensibilities. I apologize if you are, or were, part of a Fraternity, I mean no disrespect. I’m just saying it was not for me. Incidentally, I was invited to join, or try out . . . whatever they call it, for a fraternity once. I politely declined!
No, I am not against a group of people having a good time, letting their hair down and enjoying the moment. That is all well and good. I am not a legalist.
There are many things I do not understand about my own generation, let alone those in front and behind me. Then again, I do not usually worry about it one way or the other. I figure, let bygones be bygones. I am more of a libertarian than I would sometimes care to admit.
I do not really get caught up in all the generational talk. I mean every generation, it seems, bemoans the strictness and puritanism of the ones before it. And, conversely, they wax long and hard against the excesses and irresponsibility of the ones after it. In other words, my generation is just right! It is a retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears in generational overtones. The older generation’s bed is too hard. The younger generation’s bed is too soft. But, my generation’s bed is just right! Give me a break!
I have found there is legalism in each and every generation. I have also found there is license and excess in every generation. It seems to me no generation has struck the perfect balance as yet. Maybe you feel that yours, while not perfect, has gotten the closest to it; well, congratulations, you may pat yourself on the back! But, either way, the age old truth applies to individuals as well as generations: not one is perfect.
I will try to refrain, as I get older, to bemoan the carelessness of the younger folk. I will remind myself, by God’s help, that I too once did some questionable things. I will not be hypocritical to say that I can have my fun, but when I am tired of it all and ready to retire from it, then no one else gets to play with those toys! Of course, I believe lessons should be taught by the older generation to the younger; but, I am not out to rob them of their fun, or their search for life. ( I will also refrain from telling them how much harder it was when I was young: how I had to walk uphill in knee-deep snow, both ways!, to school!)
On the other hand, I do not want to point an angry finger at those older than me and besmirch their experience and wisdom. I do not want to commit the sin of ageism. I want to respect the lessons they have learned, the lessons they can pass along to me. True, I may not always fit in their mold, but that is okay, they do not always fit in mine either.
Times change and so do people. In the end, it really is not about what generation you belong to (Boomers, X or whatever) it is about being the person God created you to be. It is finding your God-given purpose in life and then pursuing that with all you are. It is trusting in Christ and his Holy Spirit to give you wisdom to navigate the road of life in a way that honors him.
And yes, as you go about the long winding road of life . . . be sure to have a little fun along the way!