The post that follows below my paragraphs was sent to me by my daughter Jennifer after reading in early January a few of my blogs about our family’s heritage. It’s author is Bible Gateway, 5300 Patterson Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49530 USA. I’m thinking Jennifer forwarded this to me because she knows that I am a firm believer in collecting and mining data from our past to be appropriately used today or treasured for the future; I like to be active in my community; and, I feel strongly that baby boomers’ life experiences, talents, and skills should not be undermined or discarded because we have reached a given age. All of us are struggling as our society and morals erode away, traditions are disappearing, and our educational systems are failing to give our children the quality education that once was best in the world. Those of us who have work experience, honed our talents and skill sets, and wisdom that only life experiences can provide need to remain active for our own livelihood, but also to help our younger generations thrive in today’s world and to help them understand the consequences if we all don’t give our very best to honor our life and the lives of loved ones past and present.
Jennifer did, however, ask me to provide an introduction to the message below (from Bible Gateway) that shared with you our family’s recent experiences of trying to cope with our matriarch and patriarch losing their vibrancy and many times remembering their lives when they were children or 20 years ago but being unable to remember what they ate for their breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or asking us the same questions that they asked us moments ago or several times earlier in the day. And, too, I recently retrieved several boxes of family photos from the attic that were put there when my grandmother, Loretta, and my great grandmother, Lottie, passed away in the 1960s. So many of these keepsakes and pictures (including tin types, greeting cards, post card photos and messages, old letters) have no names, dates, or places on them. It’s so sad…so I say please, keep your family close, schedule regular quality time with them, and capture as much as you can about earlier times. Do it for them, do it for you, and do it for our children to help them learn to treasure their loved ones and the value of sharing.
According to recent statistics, the average church has an “experience bank” of about 3,700 years in their senior citizens. What a reservoir! What a storehouse! How many years of wisdom do the experts of your own family possess?
Those experts preserve traditions passed down from one generation to another. They provide continuity and stability. They demonstrate a living faith that links the past, the present and the future. However it is passed down, the generations of your own family have much to offer.
The greatest gift you may be able to offer the elderly is the opportunity to share their offering with you. Record on video or audio tape their memories of earlier times. Ask them for that family recipe and then write it down for those who follow. Pull out the family Bible or genealogy and transcribe the births, weddings and deaths of those they remember so that you will never forget. Seek the offerings of the elderly. You and your children will be the beneficiaries.
And, as technologically adept as our younger generations are, the more likelihood that these video or audio memories will offer many more byproducts for conversations and get togethers’ to share and compare notes.