Don't Lose Sight of Yesterday's Generation
Give your elders the gift of your time
This is the fastest moving generation of all and with social media running our lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and lose all sense of reality. While we’re Instagramming and Snapchatting, our elders are left scratching their heads as to why their grandchildren are filming themselves planking on ironing tables and doing the floss.
As you shake your head and explain to grandpa that Snapchat is life, he is probably shaking his head at you thinking that you have no idea what life is.
What we must not forget is that our elderly have lived four times the life we have and their tales and legends cannot be lost.
Children these days
This is the first generation that will have their entire lives recorded online and there’s not much one would want for today. We have everything at our fingertips and most of us are probably reading this from their holiday destination that’s already been posted on social media, #blessed.
We are also probably the most anxious generation with the least reason. There has been no World War (yet) that we’ve all been embroiled in, we’ve never had to rashun our food and live off whatever land we had. We never had to walk 40 kilometers to get to school every day.
Yet our anxieties lie in the heart of the number of likes we received because just maybe we should have posted the photo with the good hair instead of the one with the nice view. We are completely self absorbed and totally self indulgent.
With all this choice of filters and hoping we’ll go viral, it’s easy to forget that there are real people out there that are becoming more lonely and left behind by the second. And those people are the ones that fought our wars, instilled our values and taught us everything we know.
Yesterday’s generation no longer sit their young around a tree and tell them about the sunny days of their childhoods, dark times of their adulthoods and how they overcome adversity to be taught life lessons.
They sit at home, alone and wondering why no one ever calls their landline.
Once upon a time, they were you
Just imagine, one day you will be old! Oh the travesty, the wrinkles!
And just think - your grandmother was young once. Wrinkle free and busy with her own life, burning bras, starting revolutions and joining marches.
Take a second, think about it. Think about all the experiences you have had in your short life. Do you think your stories are worth sharing? Do you think you’d have something to offer your grandchildren one day? That maybe in 2050, they’d like to hear your perspective on the avocado outrage and the #metoo movement of 2018?
Listen and maybe you’ll hear
All your grandparents, or the older people in your lives, really want is a bit of your young time. They want an ear to listen to them and a heart to hear their tales. Much as they probably enjoy their day time TV and have a strict schedule of when the good shows are on, perhaps if you paid a little bit of attention, they’d prefer your time.
Most of us aren’t seventh generation Australian, many of our grandparents came from a different country to be here. Don’t you want to hear those stories? About their life growing up, where they travelled, what they saw. What it was like having a family back then, how they felt when they held their grandchildren for the first time.
Our seniors have a wealth of knowledge. They are here to pass on their legends so that they are not forgotten. They don’t have Facebook where they could leave their mark so that you could read it whenever you are ready.
Our time is limited
The time we have to learn everything they want to teach us is limited. They will not be around forever. Don’t waste this opportunity searching for Insta followers when you could be learning about where you came from.
Our elders are not boring, they are not lame, they don’t just want to sit at home and wait for the next phase of life. They want to be a part of your lives. They want to know about your world just as much as they want to share their own.
And remember, if it wasn’t for them and all that they went through, you would not be here. Every one of your ancestors had to survive every single raid, war, famine and plague outbreak, for you to be here today.
Sit and talk
So next time you are at a family party and you’re picking up your phone to check in, have a look around and spot the grand parent. Get your drink ready, grab some snacks, take the plunge and sit next to them.
Ask them one simple question:
What was it like when you were young?
And wait for the magic.
About the Author
Frolicking in the ocean and sipping on a cool beverage is how life was intended for Billi. An avid traveler and dabbler in creative expressions, Billi has tried it all – singing, make up artistry, photography and cross-fit coaching – wait, what?
Billi has loved writing since Hotmail accounts were cool, her 15 childhood diaries will attest to that. Years of practicing terrible poetry and managing her own teenage emotions have shaped Billi's passion for writing her stories and experiences for her few social media followers.
Adoring her young family and loving her close group of friends, Billi is planning on writing all about her upcoming overseas adventures as soon as the kids are old enough to appreciate all the effort it takes to travel with them.