Sharing the wisdom of all ages…

August 21, 2015

“If you only get involved with young people you don’t learn anything about the world.”  (Edmund White) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Edmund White was probably trying to encourage young people to spend some time with older people and not toold and young just hang around with people their own age. The young can hopefully tap into the wisdom that their elders have accumulated from a lifetime of experiences and perhaps avoid repeating the mistakes that led to some of that wisdom.  As Jack went on to point out, there is also much for older people to learn from the young.

The youth of every era represent the changes that are taking place in our society; so, spending time with them and understanding their perspective on things will help older people see and understand the changes that are taking place in society. Conversely, the youth might gain the perspective of where things came from and better understand how different things are for them than they were for their parents or grandparents. Many of them are growing up never having experienced the things and life styles that shaped their elders viewpoints. For them a life lacking modern technologies would be as weird and bewildering as some of their elders find their use tutoringof technology to be today. Imagining a world where the phone was attached to a cord is as strange to them as their elder’s bemusement over modern smartphone usage.

Hopefully, if you’re a younger person, you will make some time to spend with your grandparents or other older relatives just talking about life as it was and as it is today. You might enjoy some of the stories that they have to tell you, and you might even learn something. If you have no older relatives close to where you live, perhaps you could visit a senior living home in your area and see if there are some lonely seniors there who would enjoy a visit and a chance to talk with you.

If you are the elder person in this scenario, put aside your suspicions and concerns about modern technologies and the youthful life styles that you may not agree with and see if you can tap into and understand the energy and enthusiasm that is there in youth. You may have forgotten what it was like to be young or you may only selectively remember your own youthful exuberance and the mistakes that you made while you were growing up. Perhaps those weren’t mistakes after all, just learning experiences. Share your wisdom with the young while recapturing some little piece of that wonderful, innocent and naive that we call youth.  You can’t go back, but maybe some of those memories and feelings can come back to you.

In a broader sense, you could restate today’s quote to read “If you only get involved with people who arediversity just like you, you don’t learn anything about the world.” It is through diverse relationships – across ages and races and religions and ethnic groups – that we broaden our perspective of the world. The ability to understand other viewpoints and share the experiences and wisdom of diverse groups enables a richer understanding of the world around us. Integrating those differences into our own thinking allows us not only to be more tolerant of differing opinions, but gives us a much richer knowledge base upon which to base our own life decisions. Enrich your life today. Talk to someone not your own age, race, color, religion or ethnic background. You’ll be glad that you did.

What’s your take on everything?

July 17, 2015

“The old believe everything; the middle-aged suspect everything; the young know everything.”  (Oscar Wilde) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.  Jack went on to write – A recent study shows that people, 69 and older, tend to believe too-good-to-be-true promises.  Internet feedback shows that middle-agers are conspiracy-prone.  If it’s not “the gov’t,” it’s a religious plot, or Wall St.  And, of course, it’s nothing new that the young know everything.  Haven’t you ever been young?  But…beware of stereotypes!

I guess I must still be thinking somewhat like a middle-aged person. I don’t believe in the various conspiracy theories and BS that many of the arch-conservative political groups seem to be trying to spread all of the time; however, I’ve yet to send money to a stranded friend who is apparently stuck in London after someone stole his wallet and passport. I usually tell them that all of my money is currently tied up trying to help the ex-Finance Minister of Botswana get his family fortune out of the country.  I suspect that I will take a healthy amount of skepticism with me forever.

know it allI do meet adults from time to time who apparently never grew out of their belief that they already know everything. It’s no longer cute or forgivable in someone who surely should have gained at least enough intelligence to realize how little they actually know.  In my real estate business I do run into older people who have become quite trusting of everyone and everything and I try to make sure that I do nothing to betray that trust.

Where are you on the “everything” spectrum?  Do you know everything, suspect everything or accept everything? Probably most of us have elements of all three in our personalities, maybe with the scale tipping further towards believing everything as we grow older; although I know some pretty paranoid older people who don’t seem to be able to move beyond the conspiracy-theory mindset. They don’t trust anybody.

I think another thing happens as you age and that has to do with your religious beliefs. Children start out as believers because they want to please others. They say they believe, without understanding really what that know it all 2means, because adults in their lives may tell them that they should believe. Somewhere in their youth many tend to wander from those beliefs because they become distracted by other things in life that they think are more important. Their lack of faith may take on what they think is a weighty conscious skepticism about everything they’ve been told to believe up to that point – it’s an intellectual rebellion as much anything rooted in their rebellion against all things that they’ve been told they must do or how they’ve been expected to conduct themselves. Many beers are consumed in colleges as that debate rages into the night.

Later, as true adults, a good number return to religion because they realize that something has been missing from their lives. An unfortunately large number, however, continue their life journey without the touchstone of faith to act as a moral compass and comfort through life’s trials. It takes a crisis or some life changing event to bring most of those people back into some recognition that faith is a key missing element in their lives. Some never make it back and that is sad.

shield of faithFor the older people there almost always comes a moment when they finally ask themselves, “What’s next?”  Without faith there is no satisfactory answer to that question. So, maybe it’s not so much as Wilde put it, “The old believe everything”; so much as it is that they finally believe something (again). As I age, I don’t sit around contemplating the end; however, I find increasing comfort in the belief that death here on earth is not the end. That’s actually frees me to go on about a productive life and to enjoy each day.

So, what do you believe? You certainly don’t know everything, and you don’t need to be suspicious about everything and you really shouldn’t believe everything; however, at your very core,  you do need to believe in something. For me that something is my faith. What have you got?

Reclaim your ability to play…

June 15, 2015

Wow! Some things just hit closer to home than others and this post on hit very close for me –

This post changes how you see the old favorite comic strip Calvin and Hobbes.  I loved that strip and was bummed, like so many others, when it was discontinued. More importantly, I could relate to the scenario that was the premise for the strip. I suspect that we all had some imaginary friend like Hobbs when we were little. As an adult I find myself “voicing” responses in conversations with my dogs Sadie and Skippy. They are my current Hobbs’es.

I’ve written here before about losing the ability that we had as children to play and to imagine things and friends to play with. I love the saying, “We don’t lose our ability to play because we get old; we get old because we lose our ability to play.” The story above about Calvin on his deathbed reestablishing the ability to see Hobbs as a real live lion again and then passing Hobbs on to his grandson is poignant and touching.  I literally can’t read this story without tearing up.

pillow fightThere is much more than just the loss of innocence that occurs when we “grow up”. We are taught how to suppress the things that allowed us to have the type of fun that is a part of childhood, to be silly and to summon our imaginary friends when we needed them. We are forced to “fit in”, to “act like an adult” and “be serious.” Soon we lose the ability to giggle and laugh out loud at funny things that happen in life, because that wouldn’t be proper. We learn to “keep a stiff upper lip”, to “deal with it” and to “shake it off”. What we lose in that process of growing up is our sense of wonderment in the world around us and our ability to play without keeping score.

As I get older, things like this little story take on greater meaning. I try not to get hung up on the inevitability of death, but rather to recapture some of the freedom of being a child and being able to play or imagine things without regard to what others may think. I go to the gym most days and, even though I’ve discovered that I can no longer do many of the things that I once could do, I keep trying.  I may get a few people saying, “Look at that old fool; what does he think heboy imagining is, a kid again?” Don’t I wish.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me; I’ve got to go have another grand adventure with Sadie and Skippy. We have such great talks on our walks.

Take a Taste of the Valley and support the Youth Assistance Program

February 9, 2014

We are a country that believes that our future lies in the hands of our youth and that our youth are to be nurtured and allowed to develop, so that they can be ready for that future. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 – 1945) said it best when he said, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”

YA logoOne of the lesser-known, but quite successful programs in Oakland County is the Youth Assistance Program (YA) – a community-based program whose mission is to strengthen youth and families and to prevent and reduce delinquency, neglect, and abuse through community involvement.

Youth Assistance programs are community-based, and developed by volunteers who live and/or work in the communities in which they serve. The Circuit Court provides the professional staff to work with the volunteers and to provide direct casework services. Each local Youth Assistance program operates under the sponsorship and financial support of its local school district, the municipalities therein and the Probate Court/Circuit Court-Family Division. Additional funding is obtained through grants, donations, and local fund-raising efforts.

Youth Assistance provides free, confidential, short- term, family-centered counseling and referral services for young people, 17 years of age or younger and their families, who live or attend school in Oakland County. Referrals are accepted from schools, police, neighbors, and parents themselves with concerns about their child. The Family Division’s Intake Unit diverts cases when, in their judgment, Youth Assistance services are most appropriate. Typical reasons for referral include retail fraud, school and home problems, assault, alcohol and other drug abuse, and violations of local ordinances.

The Huron Valley School District, in partnership with the Courts and the Townships of Milford andmentoring Highland runs the Huron Valley Youth Assistance Program. The YA program includes things like family education aimed at improving communications between youth and their parents, mentoring where in adult volunteers are match with youth who may need guidance and companionship, tutoring, after-school activities and recreation, camping and community services projects. For the Huron Valley Youth Assistance Program the annual Taste of the Valley fundraiser is a key to providing the funds necessary to let the volunteers do the work that needs to be done with the youth.

This year the Taste of the Valley is being held on Thursday, February 27, 2014 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm at  Baker’s of Milford  on S. Milford Road, Milford. The event features Cuisine Samples from the Area’s Finest Restaurants, a Raffle and Auction for donated items.

Taste of the Valley Tickets are available for $20.00 pre-sale and $25.00 at door. A Cash bar will also be available.

Tickets may be purchased at:

Highland Township Offices – 205 N. Jon St, Highland, MI 48357

Milford Township Offices – 1100 Atlantic St, Milford, MI 48381

Huron Valley Youth Assistance, Duck Lake Center – 5061 North Duck Lake Rd., Highland, MI 48356

For additional information please call: 248-676-8499

You may view the event poster by clicking here.

So, come on out on Feb 27 and meet some of the people who make this program work for the youth of the Huron Valley. My wife and I went last year and plan to be there this year, too. We met many of the dedicated YA volunteers, as well as some of the youth that have been helped by the program. You’ll be glad that you attended.