“The glory of the elderly is their insight to life.” Lailah Gifty Akita
One of the most awaited events that causes unabashed eagerness of the kids to head to the homestead during holidays, is the time spent fishing with their grandparents. Hand in hand, the kids along with their grandfather and great-uncles head off to the lake in the early morning hours. On some days, there is quite a catch but on other days maybe nothing. Yet the loss of a good catch was negated by the interesting stories and legends narrated by their elders. It was interesting to listen to the recounted versions on the drive back home or later in the following weeks. There are certain priceless things that parents can’t teach their children, at times simply due to the lack of time or different levels of responsibilities cropping up. Those are the times when the gaps are filled in by their grandparents.
“The wiser mind mourns less for what age takes away than what it leaves behind.” William Wordsworth
One of the benefits of having a strong support system, of family, friends and community is that when one falls, there are hands to break the fall. This support system is like a huge tree with sturdy branches. As a small tree, the few larger older branches support, shade and model the new smaller branches. With their strength and shape, they balance the entire tree, providing sustenance for the smaller branches and reach for the light. Over time the other branches grow large, join with other clusters and support the older branches. As the old branches age, grow weak, die or fall away, the branches above take over their role, supporting the new young branches. A large support system works on similar lines.
“Their dark forms are larger than life, because memories like that grow along with your body, so that adults from our childhood always resemble an extinct race of old gods, still towering over us.” Stefan Hertmans
Unfortunately one of the strong contenders for the time of the kids, is lure of the modern entertainment. As more and more time is spent on “the modern development” of learning through applications, television, social media and the like, under the guise of “modern learning”, the memories and fresh experiences of childhood are often missed. There a lot of things that elders who have lived their lives with integrity, love and dignity can teach the younger ones. Like the experiences their parents had shared with their grandparents, from learning to fish, camp outside, have a good laugh, fun in the garden, the value of a good friendship, respect for elders and all beings, to work hard, to love and live to the fullest at each age of life. The list is long. Cooped up in the mesh of “the modern skills, media and entertainment”, a lot can be missed during the best years of childhood. All the branches of the tree contribute in a silent way. Unless each one as their role played out, the “family tree” fails to sustain and grow new fruit and saplings from it’s seeds or centuries for the future centuries.
“Where there is not community, trust, respect, ethical behavior are difficult for the young to learn and for the old to maintain.” Robert K. Greenleaf
“Listen to your elder’s advice. Not because they are always right, but because they have more experience of being wrong…” Unknown