If we open our hearts and listen, we can learn a lot from those who are a few steps ahead of us in life’s journey. This is especially true of the elderly people in our own family. Their lives are rich with treasures to be passed on to future generations. Long ago, the Psalmist pleaded, “When I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed my strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come” (Psalm 71:18). A family’s shared legacy survives and endures only as those of earlier generations share their stories—stories about the difficulties and heartaches they faced and how they persevered and found joy. Such stories are an inheritance more valuable than wealth.
And yet, too often, the elderly feel ignored or unappreciated. Even worse, some feel like they are an inconvenience or a burden to the younger generations. That should not be.
Young and old, we are all seeking the same things in life: connections, purpose, growth, and love. Years may separate us, but the feelings and aspirations we have in common transcend time. Instead of seeing a difference in age as an obstacle to understanding, we can see it as an opportunity to learn. Those with more years have wisdom and perspective just waiting to be shared.
One family has a video call each month, inviting the oldest family members to share some family history stories. Another family makes intergenerational connections as they post family photos online for senior family members to enjoy. Some families gather in a favorite park for a potluck dinner and simple games in which grandparents, great-aunts, and great-uncles answer questions about their lives. All this can deepen the roots and strengthen the branches of our family trees.
Those who have lived a little longer can be a great treasure to a family. Don’t let it be a hidden treasure. Spend some time with loved ones whose experiences predate yours, ask about their lives, and take interest in the lessons they’ve learned. Too many people regret not getting to know their senior family members before they pass on. Now is the time to discover this treasure.
August 22, 2021
Broadcast Number 4,797
The Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
Shaker song; arr. Ryan Murphy
American folk hymn; arr. Ryan Murphy
Scherzo, from Dix Pièces pour Orgue, no. 8
His Voice as the Sound
American folk hymn; arr. Mack Wilberg
What a Wonderful World
George David Weiss and Bob Thiele; arr. Mack Wilberg
I Think the World Is Glorious
Alexander Schreiner; arr. Mack Wilberg