Did you know that you have a younger side and an older side?
Your younger side tends to be more playful and curious, your older side more serious and introspective.
Actually, I just made that up. Don’t believe it for a minute! I'm highlighting how easily we can slip into positive 'young' stereotypes and comparatively negative ‘old’ stereotypes in our American culture. We view ‘young’ as more fresh and alive and ‘old’ as being less fun and more isolated.
Truth is, you have a right and left side of your brain, and they are precisely your age. Neither side is younger or older, and both sides of you can be very engaging!
On the other side of the Pacific, Eastern cultures might characterize your younger side as “immature and impulsive”, while the older side of you “oozes with wisdom and is worthy of honor.”
So, to experience the best of both worlds, we could recommend that you spend your childhood in America and eventually retire in Asia. :)
Without switching residences, though, we think it’s possible to experience the best of both worlds.
Look for the best in those younger than you
Appreciate their youthful spontaneity and curiosity. Try emulating what you love about them, no matter what your age. As you grow older, don’t let go of these positive qualities. With God at work in you, you are young enough to be fresh and stay fresh.
In the New Testament (Titus 2) Paul told Titus to teach older men to live lives (in the present) that are worthy of respect. As we get older, we may think our advancing age alone is deserving of carte blanche respect, but God wants us to give people more ammunition than simply our longevity.
Young Titus was also asked to teach older women not to slander. As we get older, we must resist the temptation to slander others. Slander is not an entitlement of older age. We must learn to hold our tongue. (Yes, Virginia, there is a slander clause!)
Look for the best in those older than you
Appreciate their life experiences and lessons learned from their living on this planet for years or decades longer than you. You will grow wiser as you appreciate their stories and perspective. You are old enough to be wise.
For those of you well under fifty, don't sell yourself short by thinking your influence is limited to your peer group and younger. You, like the younger Titus, can have a HUGE impact in the lives of those older than you. Watch the countenance of older adults light up when you go out of your way to connect with them---valuing them just like you hopefully want them to value you.
We’re convinced that God loves every generation deeply. And the more we practice doing the same, the more we reflect His character.