AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The older I get, the more I find that I really cherish speaking with people older than I am. You know, that silver generation that has lived a long life, and just the advice and the wisdom that they can impart--it’s a real treasure.
“Well work hard, save your money because you are going to love it lots more when you are older,” said D.J. Purling, who just recently celebrated her 90th birthday.
Wisdom from the older generation is a growing resource in part because people are now living longer.
“When we’re talking about the early 1900′s, the life expectancy of white men was 48, black men was 33, women lived a little bit longer. It wasn’t until, say that around the 1950′s, we really started getting into the 60′s, so maybe that living to 65 and it’s more recently where they’re in the 70s,” explained Kristina Drumheller, Ph.D., a professor in WTAMU’s communication department.
Jan Flynt of Baptist Community Services works with senior citizens every day
“They’ve got so much knowledge, nobody knows that unless you can take time to sit down and talk to them,” said Jan.
The resources are not being as tapped as much as it could be because the family structure in America has also changed.
“The older people were responsible for teaching the younger people skills, the traditions of the community, their history and life wisdom. Well today we live apart, right? So, your grandparents may live three states away,” explained Jean Stuntz, Ph.D., a professor of history at WTAMU.
Given the opportunity, however, young people tend to embrace and appreciate information from seniors.
“When we talk about generations, we talk about younger generations versus older generations. I think we create false dichotomies that if we’re willing to learn from each other, yeah, you get some great innovation, you get great experiences and great, great, great stories,” said Dr.Drumheller.
And seniors are usually very willing to visit and offer wisdom.
“Well, my advice is, get a as much general information as you can. If you can go to college, fine, but don’t put yourself deeper in a hole while doing it, and be an asset to whoever you’re working for or with. And don’t try to tear anyone down but try to help everybody up,” said Jerry Hamilton, sharing his wisdom.
“Enjoy life, live every day, you only go around once,” were the wise words I received from Eileen Afdahl.
“Eat the right things, exercise, and follow the Lord’s teachings,” Dale Butler told me.
And finally, I received this sentiment from LaNell Waldrop: "You always, well, you tell the truth. You always give your word whatever was required of you and treat other people with the way you would like to be treated. "
You can try a lot of things and look at a lot of different places when you’re looking for ways to make your life better in the future. For some of the best wisdom and advice, you need look no further than our own senior generation. That information is available and free--and that’s good news.