Too often our lives are to hectic to care about listening to the elderly around us. We have deadlines, kids to get to school, errands to run, or whatever. If we are willing to take the time to talk to seniors, it can be a very rewarding way to spend our time. The life knowledge they possess coupled with the desire to share it with someone that really wants to listen to them can give us more than we expect. Of course, there are seniors that don’t want to talk to anyone, and don’t have anything interesting to say anyway. This is the exception, not the rule. Most are more than happy to relate tales of the past to the willing ear.
I particularly enjoy talking with persons who were involved in WWII, as I am a history buff. I also read their stories, and not just from American soldiers. Russian, British, Australian, German, all of them have interesting stories to tell. The gentleman I spoke to today told me about how he helped to design a method to replicate live firing of 40mm anti-aircraft guns for training purposes, among other stories. I once met a man on a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles who was going out to a celebration honoring his 100th. birthday. Through the entire flight he shared interesting experiences. And this from a guy (me) who likes to plug in the music right away on flights so I don’t have to talk to the person next to me in most circumstances.
My parents have been the source for some wonderful stories also, but its almost better to be surprised. The unknown senior citizen. What story will he or she have to share? True, many times we are too busy to talk, too busy to listen. That fact makes the chances that we do get that much more enjoyable.
We could learn a lot. And so could our children. Society today is all about youth, appearance, career, and self. We could all use more good old fashioned knowledge from the school of hard knocks.