In many cultures, the elders in the community are revered as wise and as leaders, the ones you seek out when you have a problem and need guidance. The way in which we regard the elderly in American society could benefit from a change in perspective that honors the valuable life experience they have to offer in the same way that other cultures do. There is so much our aging relatives can teach us—about life, love and family—if we will only take the time to ask.
- Family history: The seniors in your family hold the key to one of the most important things in life—family values and morals. You can learn about values like respect, forgiveness, honesty and perseverance through adversity. Remember, your parents’ and grandparents’ beliefs have been tested through the trials and tribulations of time, of numerous defeats and victories, of hardship and good fortune, and they have become clearer and wiser as a result.
They are the keepers of the family traditions. They can tell you when and why you acquired the different customs and rituals that are now a part of your family identity. Bonus: it can be helpful to know the family health history for you and your children’s health records.
- What life was like in a different time and different place: More than movies (which get the “Hollywood treatment” to make them exciting and appealing to a wide audience) or fiction books, the actual experience your loved ones have lived through can give you an up close and personal account of the way things really were: how society functioned, what daily life was like and what people thought about the world back then.
- Life Wisdom: Your senior loved ones have likely seen a jaw-dropping range of life experiences—everything from birth to marriage and relationships to sickness and even death. During the process of growing old they no doubt made many mistakes and faced the dire consequences of those mistakes. They can teach you how to avoid these mistakes so you don’t have to learn the hard way. Having lived and learned they can help you to clearly prioritize what is most important in life. If you seek their advice in planning your life, from financial issues and job offers to marriage and family, they can give you the benefit of decades of hard won wisdom they earned from going through the things you are dealing with now.
- Recreational Activities from Back in their Day: There are many fun and interesting games and hobbies that have been lost to the passage of time. Maybe your aunt was a Pinochle pro or your Granddad was a Gin Rummy champ. Perhaps your father was a bonsai tree master or your mom had the greenest gardening thumb in the neighborhood. Shuffleboard, embroidery or making and canning preserves may all be arts that are being forgotten as video games, social media and streaming video take over the rest and recreation in our lives today. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Bring a deck of cards next time you visit and pick up a new pastime.
- Cultural Lessons: Amazing music, classic movies and hot dance moves (like the Jitterbug or the Charleston) all comprise a wealth of cultural knowledge that can enrich your life. Even beyond their favorite movie as a kid or the album they loved to dance to in high school, how people dressed to go out socializing and what type of hair styles were popular for young men and women at the time are all fascinating facts about our pop culture of the past. Were there mostly nightclubs with swing bands or did Grandma and Pops meet at a USO dance during the war? So much cultural history and nuggets of interesting information are wrapped up in the years your aging relatives lived and loved and worked and played and raised their families. Give them a chance and they will likely be more than happy to tell you all about it.
There is a plethora of wisdom you can tap into that it is only a conversation or a visit away. Of all the lessons your older relatives have passed on to you, the value of family is definitely one of the most essential. When you can’t be there in person but you know it’s important to stay connected, Packages That Care is a convenient, easy and reliable solution. Few things in life come close to the importance of family—show them you care with Packages That Care.