I have the opportunity to speak with a lot of people. Many of them are seniors in elder-care facilities. I love the opportunity to learn, and am often privileged to be able to start a conversation among a small group. I have several questions for just this kind of an opportunity. I have received a wealth of information and insight by asking some of them. It is one of the ways I get more than I give.
One of the questions I love to ask is, “When you see your self in your mind, not when you look in the mirror, but in your actual mind, how old are you and where were you in your life at that time”. It's interesting to look at the different type of responses I have heard. Most women seem to choose a time between 20-40. Often when they are married, or just before their first child. Almost no-one hesitates to answer when I ask the question. Almost everyone sees a very specific view of themselves. Most men hesitate just a bit more and almost always choose a younger time rather than a middle age one. It's always interesting.
Another question I ask is, “What is the biggest social change you have seen in your lifetime? Again, the answers have been fascinating. Most women comment on the opportuinities now available for women that weren't even dreamed of in their days. They are right. Things have certainly changed. Most men are fascinated by the changes in technology and media. It says a lot. Again, always interesting.
I recently asked a Cantor to tell me about his 3 greatest music moments. I was floored. I asked a writer about his favorite author and he couldn't stop raving. I spoke to a travel agent of many generations about his favorite places to visit and why. He talked and talked. People love to tell you about their passions. Just give them an opportunity.
The best thing I get out of all of this is hope. I think that there is hope for future generations, even in these incredibly conflictful times. We have an opportunity to learn from history. All history, good or bad can teach us. The seniors I have the privledge to talk to still have hope. They hope that the dreams of their children and grandchildren lead to significant changes in life. They have seen so many in their lifetimes, that they hope their children experience the same. If we want the real story and the real prospective, why not spend an hour a week talking to a senior instead of watching the news. Call us and volunteer. We'll find you a source of wisdom to give you hope.