The Value In Spending Time With Older People

July 15, 2016By
Listening To Older People

Do you spend time with older people?

Last week my grandpa turned 86 years old.

He’s really an incredible person. He has a lot of life experience and while I don’t think I take advantage of the opportunities as often I should I do like spending time with him and just having conversations.

Now I’ve been seeing him about once a week. We have little chats and talk about life and little things. The really great moments are when he shares stories and experiences.

It’s amazing how many lessons there are in life that don’t really change. The world changes in many ways, but in so many ways it remains the same.

My grandma died a few years ago and one day recently my grandpa was talking about their last year together. They had sad moments where they wondered why she had to be facing death. Then he said they would turn their focus to the good things they had experienced in life. How they found each other. The places they had visited. The family they had in all forms. The friends they had.

That story hit me as a reminder that when things are going wrong in life that there is still reason for happiness. There is still reason for gratefulness.

Old People & Life’s Lessons

Here is the US we have this strange school system where we attend school for 12 years with people our own age. We’re kind of isolated from people of other ages including those older and those younger.

Over time some kids find it difficult to know how to act around adults. They have their parents and family that they can interact with, but when they interact with an older person that they don’t know it can be awkward.

What I’ve learned or have tried to learn over the years is that it’s important for growth in life to spend time with people that are older.

I’m talking one year older, five years older and even 50 or 60 years older. Some of the best conversations I’ve had have been with people much older than me.

The great thing is that when you have a conversation with someone that is older you usually can find common ground. The things you’re going through are things that they’ve gone through. And you can pick up on some life lessons that you can still use to your advantage in life.

The other day I was talking to my grandpa about my golf league. He then shared a few tidbits about the league he was part of for many years. He shared little stories about people that kind of annoyed people and those that played the game with integrity and how that reflected in other areas of their lives.

Knowledge & Experience

I’m guilty of it, but I’ve tried to think differently in recent years.

We live in a busy world. We look at things in terms of the bottom line. When it comes to our time we’re often thinking about how it will benefit us. And it usually leads to short-term thinking. We think that there might not be anything to learn from people that are older than us.

But something I’m learning more every day is that knowledge and experience are incredibly valuable in life. It’s extremely worthwhile to spend an hour each week with someone older. They could be doing something better with their time too, but people often like sitting down and having a conversation. I imagine that they get something out of it too.

But for me and my grandpa I know that I’m coming out ahead. He might not even realize it, but the stories he shares and the life lessons he shares are helping me figure out how to live my life.

And I’m trying to do the same with others like my parents, aunts, uncles and people in the community. Even those that I golf with that are older have shared some great knowledge and experience with me. I think it pays to be curious and to ask questions.

It all starts with making an effort to spend quality time with the older people in your life. It can have an incredible impact on how you live your life.