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Can You Hear Me Now?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Am I Irrelevant?

Several months ago my mother said something that has been lying dormant in the ‘lessons learned’ neurons until today.

We were driving along talking about a church she was a member of (at that time) and had been actively involved in for over 2 years. She said: “I feel like what I say doesn’t matter, like I’m not heard because I’m over 60.”

I remember thinking, “How sad to feel like you’re not heard.” If only I knew how truly important this lesson would become in a few months time.

Today I was reading a ‘submission guidelines’ for an e-zine I have considered submitting writing to and it had some information about targeted demographic (20 year olds) and I immediately felt like “I’m too old to be relevant.” And I heard it in my mother’s voice…

I also thought about marketing I’ve seen in the past few years that specifically spoke to and targeted 20-30 year olds. These types of things always incense me. First of all, if that is your lone target market…find out the demographic you’re delivering this information to and skip the homes of the 40, 50, 60 + year olds so we don’t waste our precious (and apparently limited) time on earth reading your unrelated information.

The second and more bothersome truth is the further division of an already severed generational gap. The more each generation tries to separate themselves and identify themselves outside the bigger picture, the less we can relate to one another and learn from one another.

I think of the way the Bible is written and the older men and women were called to teach the younger men and women. I think of the picture of a mentoring relationship and the value in this type of relationship. I think of my own recent feelings of missing leadership and discipleship, without an older woman to communicate with and learn from.

It scares me to think of the cost to our younger generations as they attempt to maneuver through life unarmed with the knowledge, and more importantly, the wisdom available by a generation 10-30 + years their senior. It scares me to think of my own misdirection without the presence of an elder leader.

I wonder if all the energy we expend trying to delineate ourselves and find what makes us different would be better spent in finding unification and using the differences to enhance the overall mosaic.

A quilt of one fabric is just a blanket. A quilt of many fabrics; old, new, colorful, drab, ripped and repaired, is a historical treasure and a real beauty!


Celebrate your elders today! Celebrate the WHOLE picture and have a glorious Wednesday!

10 comments:

Grafted Branch said...

I blame Elvis. I really do. ;)

absonjourney said...

kim-
this was one of the first important lessons you brought to our church. i shudder to think how many people we turned off with those early promo attempts. like i said a couple of weeks ago i now pray daily for God to send us older men and women to be a part of our church and to do EXACTLY what you are talking about. i am praying for God to sed someone for you as well.

pastorman

kpjara said...

GB: Surely NOT Elvis!!!

Abs: You have an incredible heart and GOD knows, as do I...that your heart is where it should be. It was an honest mistake for Journey...

I didn't realize how wide-scale this problem really is...until I read Relevant's submission guidelines.

I'm still gonna try though!

Butterfly Kisses said...

Thank you for your sweet comment this morning on my blog. Oh and the jerk chicken...well the seasoning I made and used as a rub..didn't really flavor the chicken a whole lot. I am going to try it one more time but use it as a marinade instead and use chicken breasts. So, I may do that next week and then I'll let you know how it turns out.

And I agree with your post 100%. I enjoy reading the various blogs on the Christian Woman blog ring and find that the most encouraging and useful posts are written by those older and more wiser than me.

Your quilt analogy was great, btw.

Dawn said...

I am approaching very rapidly the over-60 age group and I appreciate what you've said here. I love this blog thing, because there are so many ages of us out there communicating. Our church has two services and unfortunately, it is pretty divided along age lines.

I found this quote today that applies to what you wrote yesterday:

Lord, teach me to listen. The times are noisy and my ears are weary with
the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them.
— A. W. Tozer

the voice said...

It is so sad when someone is not taken seriously because of their age; whether too old, or too young. Older people are a lot like diamonds in the rough; you see it, and it looks dull and worthless. But when you get past that dull surface, you have a stone that shines and sparkles, and is priceless. Great, thought provoking post. God bless you, Ken

Swandive said...

Your post reminds me of a great story I once heard by Tiger McLuen. Here is the link to that story. The point that I took away the first time I heard it was that you do not need to be anything other than who God has made you to be to be "hip, cool, and relevant." A total old geezer dork-wad is just as relevant and gifted to show God's love in the world as the young hip duuuu-de. Keep on sister. You are needed at any age. And you are too - fellow reader of the kpjara blog.

Nancy said...

Now that is an eye opener for me... I never thought I would not be listened too because I was too old! How sad, and prejudice. I love the quilt qoute... how appropriate! Have a great day.

His Singer said...

YES!!!

As one who is in her EXTREEEEMELY late thirties, I agree wholeheartedly!

Oh, and BTW, I tagged you for a meme. :) It's HeyJules' fault.

MiPa said...

This resonates with my heart. After working in nursing homes as a social worker for several years I found the hardest thing people gave up was their need to be heard. I pray that I can be someone who always listens and learns from those who have more life experience than me!