Do Kids Need More “Old People” in Their Lives?

Do Kids Need More "Old People" in Their Lives? - Parenting Like HannahIf your children can speak, you probably realize they consider you and anyone else close to your age “old”. I laugh now, because I will talk to friends from home and they will mention someone is “getting older”. In my memory, that person had to be at least in their 60’s or 70’s when I was a child. Inevitably, I will ask “What?! Isn’t she over 125 by now?” Usually, I realize the “old” person had actually been only in their 30’s or 40’s when I was little!

There is something about being young that makes it seem as if anyone older than your peer group is ancient. An arrogance develops as children age. By the time they reach college, many young people have dismissed anyone over the age of 30 as out-of-touch and unable to teach them anything valuable.

If your children appear to be developing that attitude or you find yourself thinking the same things about people ten or more years older than you, it’s time to be proactive in changing those attitudes.

True, that sweet older lady may not even be able to make a phone call on her phone. He may not have heard of the latest music or movies. Chances are though, if they have been strong Christians, they have an awful lot to teach you and your children. Oh, the wrappings may be a bit dated, but the meat of what they have to share can have immense value for your family.

Our society no longer values the wisdom that comes from years of experience and observing others make mistakes or create successes. It doesn’t value the knowledge that comes from years of prayerfully studying the Bible. It discounts the value of seeing God work in this world for decades. It doesn’t understand the importance of sharing a faith that has seen answered prayers and God changing lives.

Those older people often hold the keys to lessening the spiritual stress in the lives of you and your children. They can provide mentoring for your family that will help you all make wiser choices and be more successful in your Christian walk. They can help shore up your faith when times are tough and God seems far away. They can give your kids the guardrails they need to protect them from Satan. They can reflect the love of God to your family when it seems no one else even understands how badly you need it right now. They can often tell you what parenting techniques work and which ones don’t – they don’t worry about trends – they have decades of observations (data) of what really works and what doesn’t.

Look around your congregation. Find some older people who are wise and loving. Look for those who love to chat with your kids. Find those whose adult children are mighty men and women of God themselves. Ask them to lunch. Invite them to family events. Beg them to mentor your family or spend time with your kids. Ask their advice and then prayerfully consider actually taking it. Ask if you can drop by their house with some brownies and your kids to visit for a bit.

Making those relationships may just change the entire dynamic in your family. Finding godly men and women to mentor your family is so important it is even mentioned in the New Testament. Take what the Bible says to heart…find some great spiritually strong older people and ask for their input. It may just be the help for which you have been praying.

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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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