Posted in Life

Bringing wisdom

Photo by TheStandingDesk on Unsplash

The new person in my online Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) group a couple of weeks ago was Mophath, who lived in Nairobi, Kenya. It’s cool to study the scriptures each week with men from all over the world. Some members of my small group live on the east and west coasts of the US, others are in the midwest states of Illinois and Iowa, and four live in Africa. Earlier in the year, one guy lived in Hawaii.

Our leader asked Mophath to introduce himself to the group and tell us a little about himself. He’s twenty-two years old, is studying at the University of Nairobi, and learned about BSF from a friend. When he checked out our group, he saw many “who could be my grandfathers.” Yes, our group leans a little toward the retired side of life. We’ve got a few young guys, and Mophath will lower our average age a few more years. “But,” he added, “I am thankful for the wisdom you all bring.”

His comment revealed a respect for those who are older that my culture doesn’t necessarily display. Maybe I am more aware of that as I wade a little deeper into senior citizenship. I get senior discounts now, so I guess that’s where I am. I don’t feel that old, but I get a weekly reminder when I see myself on Zoom. Mophath’s comment made me think about my respect – or lack of respect – for those older than me. Or even those my age.

Feelings of disrespect bubble up when some folks can’t seem to handle technology. Some struggle with self-checkout lanes, smart phone updates, TV and cable remotes, and resetting the clock in the car for Daylight Savings Time. But wait a minute. Don’t we all struggle with those things?

I get a little agitated when I have to wait for someone who’s moving a bit slower than me, or takes a little more time to express an idea. That is, until I remember that I make more mistakes when I rush through something. I also say some really stupid things if I don’t think before I speak. Just relax.

It’s bothersome when those who are older have such little tolerance for the appearance, language, and habits of a younger generation. I know, it’s always been this way. The “generation gap” is nothing new. I feel out of place among those who fully embrace tattoos, piercings, brightly dyed hair, K-pop, and choosing their own pronouns. Guess what? I’ve advanced to an older generation.

I haven’t yet felt too much disrespect from a younger generation. I think the way to dodge that is to show an interest in them and listen to their story. Perhaps that’s wisdom I’ve discovered over the years. I should give God credit, too. He said that you reap what you sow. Show respect, and you’ll receive respect.

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