As a society it seems as if we value just about everything as it ages. Things like…
Wine: (Paul Masson “We will sell no wine before its time“) There seems to be a general belief that when it comes to wine, older is definitely better. People have paid out extraordinary amounts of money to own rare and highly sought after spirits.
And houses: Although most houses fall into the “decrepit” category after 100 years (or less in some cases), there are still many houses (even older) that are considered “vintage” and sell for a premium, especially American Craftsman Style homes if they have all or most of their original “built ins” or have been designated historical landmarks.
And of course, baseball cards: The most expensive baseball card in the world right now is one from 1909 that was sold for a staggering $2.8 million!
Now, while I certainly think all of these aged-collectable are nice, the most notable and surprising exception to inclusion in this time-established ranking of seniority… is people.
It’s really sad to me that as people get older, instead of treating them with respect and dignity, many of them are treated like a nuisance. An inconvenience at best. We cast our elderly aside like yesterdays newspaper. Maybe good for recycling, but more likely to be used as lining in bird cages. Where is the honor many of the aged among us so rightfully deserve? When did we become so careless with our ancestry?
I’ve purposed to simply record conversation with my older relatives, especially my parents. I sit and ask questions about a bygone era that shaped the people they eventually became. People who fell in love, got married and gave me life. I realized a long time ago that there is so much to be learned from their lifetime of experiences. I learn about our country’s history from a first-hand accounting of events. I learn about the transformation of what constituted entertainment. And I learn about our community both large and small, as well as its victories and its defeats.
So just remember, by the grace of God, we’ll all get old eventually. Make the time to give your elders the time and attention they deserve. Because the hearts of this extraordinary population, and the wisdom-laden information they provide are in a word… priceless.