We don’t have it right and we do not have everything figured out, regardless of what we say or how we are posturing …
Now I’ve been told that younger people are disrespectful. I completely agree, I was disrespectful as a teenager and I thought that I knew everything in my twenties. I started doing my own thing in my thirties as I had lost respect for my peers, not just my elders. In my forties I understand where my elders were coming from, but I am disappointed. My elders are often underemployed, if not unemployed, are out chasing the same skirts I used to chase twenty years ago and have a “do as I say not as I do” type of attitude. They are not setting a good example, and they like to think that they mean what they say but I often feel as though they are attempting to convince themselves of it when I see them talking to younger people. They talk about God, but their views are often sexist, racist, or xenophobic.
Perhaps a younger person needs to see where you’ve been where they are trying to go. There are some battles an older person simply is not going to win. No young person wants to dress like an older person, regardless of how either side feels about the way the other presents themselves to society. But can an older person develop rapport with young people and encourage them, inspire them, challenge them to think outside of one’s self to become future leaders?
There were a lot of things I didn’t do, because they seemed stupid to me. A lot of experiences I honestly was not that interested in witnessing. But that does not mean that someone who has been through those things cannot teach me anything about life. I often wonder if we convey that too younger people, or do we just give them a set of rules, without context, and then show our disappointment when they fail, and then give the impression that they have failed us personally? We’ve made those same mistakes, the vulnerability, the frailty, it was all there, but are we caught up in gender roles and then we push that off towards young people like it was pushed off to us? Peer pressure, except that we’re not really peers, we are supposed to be leaders?
Some of us do not want to be a leader. We just want to be left alone. But someone has to take a position when there are young people among us that aren’t getting it right and we have the power to at least attempt to do something about it. Even if no one ever asks you anything, we have that responsibility to set an example through our actions. Everyone wants to be young, but not everyone can be young. Those that aren’t have to find a new role in an ever shifting paradigm, regardless of how prepared they truly are for those new chapter in their life.