Ask the Aged
What they’ve learned…
And you will get
The Lesson of a Lifetime
From a lifetime of lessons,
Wisdom from
And Mistakes
Of their own, and others’, too;

Ask the Prophet and Apostles,
These Aged Men
Of God,
What they’ve learned…
And you will get
The Lesson of a Lifetime
From a lifetime of lessons
Taught by the Lord;
You gain Wisdom from Heaven
Used here on Earth
For the Benefit
Of you
To benefit others.

Listen and Heed
To the wisdom of Heaven
To these men
Of God
For He works thru them
To teach

The LDS Lamplighter

I’ve never really been the best when it comes to dealing with people much older than me.  I’ve usually kept a certain emotional distance from them.  Maybe it was because I felt like I couldn’t relate to them.  Maybe it was because I was too wrapped up in my little world to pay attention.  For whatever reason, I was aloof from the older generation…

Until I got hired to the teams I work for now.

I had older people in my teams.  Much older than me.  They represent the generation that’s about ready to retire, and…in recent years, transfer into the next life.  For some reason, my life’s path crossed with theirs.  And I think I know why.

I need to learn to develop relationships with this older generation.  I need to learn from their insights, their wisdom, their life’s experiences.  I need to hear their stories.

I never really knew my grandparents.  I knew of them…but I was never intimate with their life stories, with their struggles and pains, with their successes and joys.  I found myself struggling to be interested.  Why?  I’m not sure.

Now, I have somewhat of a chance to develop such relationships with these older men and women that I work with.   And from the time that I’ve been able to spend with them…oh, the stories!  Their humor and wit!  Their wisdom, insight, and experience!  I wish I could say that I remember everything that they taught me…but even though I can’t, I enjoy what they have to offer even more.

A few days ago, I was passing by an older man conversing with a younger man holding an ukulele. I declared, “Wow! You play an ukulele!” and the older man’s eyes lit up. We exchanged stories of playing the ukulele, and he played a pretty little version of Somewhere, Over the Rainbow before we all parted ways. As I walked away, I turned to look back at him one more time, and I couldn’t help but think that he just wanted that moment to share what he loved to someone who was willing to listen, someone who showed an interest, even for a bit.

My team lead is another silver-haired gentleman.  He’s a “jolly old fella” once you get to know him.  When I first met him, he was bitter about things.  I didn’t really know why until I learned that he’s the kind of guy that was undervalued and over-beat-up….from top management down and from his peers.  He’s a smart man, with a wonderful out-of-the-box perspective, and very funny with lots of stories to tell, but the surrounding culture rejected him for some reason.

Things changed when he realized that people would listen to me, and he used me as his vehicle to promote his ideas.  People would think they’d come from me, and they’d accept the ideas that he gave me.   When I told people whose ideas they really were, the culture around him began to change.  They began to value him even more.  His bitterness started to wane, and his laughter increased.

Why does the world place little value on the Aged?  They have so much to offer…so much wisdom packed in the lives that they’ve lived.  Yes, they may look more wrinkled and walk a bit more slowly than those of us in our prime years…but we can’t match the distance they’ve already covered.  They’ve seen more, done more, lived more, and loved more than we have right now.  They see things in a way that we can only speculate.  And they understand the paths we have yet to cross.

And what about prophets and apostles of our day?  In the LDS Church, it’s been said that the leaders are too old, and too old fashioned.  Why not choose young people to lead?

It’s because the Lord trains up those who He’ll choose to lead His Church.  And sometimes, that training takes a lifetime.  Teaching men to be anchored to time-tested principles and truths takes time.  It takes a variety of experiences.  It takes trials, sorrows, joys, and pains to build perspective, and character.  Youth offers no such time.  Youth is too fickle, too fidgety, too un-anchored, too unsure of itself.  Youth is the time to learn to trust God, to listen to him, to love Him, and to follow Him.

By the time we’ve learned those, then Youth becomes Aged.  And that’s why the Lord needs the Aged to lead His Church.  He needs their steadiness, their surety, their anchored-ness, their faith.  He needs their understanding so they can understand others who struggle, their life’s stories to teach truths and principles, their pure love of people because they’ve already felt His love for them.

The Wisdom of the Aged is most valuable when that Wisdom is grown by God.

The Value of the Aged is most precious when Youth will listen to the stories, the wisdom, the laughter, and the tenderness of those who’ve walked quite the distance in the paths of life…

For it is on the shoulders of these gentle Giants of Life, yes, these Aged ones, that we stand the tallest.