Many times I’ve observed individuals wondering what is that we can learn from elders. Some feel they don’t understand what we are going through. There is a generation gap and so they won’t know a thing about us. We are in the era of technology and they aren’t aware of anything of this sort so what can we learn from them.
Yes, some elders might not be able to cope up with technology or what’s happening in the world but remember they have experience. They’ve seen the world before us. Since ancient times they have played a vital role in civilization. The wisdom they offer comes from their experience of life. The technology and modernization that we have today is built over the experiments that they had already done and serves as a basis to further innovate a lot more.
“Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.” – Mark Twain
What Mark Twain is trying to indicate here is that the wrinkles should be because of your smiles and laughter and not because of your worries.
I still remember so many things that I observed whenever I was visiting my grandparents or when they were visiting us. The story telling sessions, visits to the market and the lovely vacations we had with them are still fresh in my mind. There are so many lessons that I learnt from them. So there is definitely a lot we can learn from them. Let’s look at some of these areas.
#1 – Healthy eating habits
This is something one should definitely focus on. The secret to their longevity and active life is their healthy eating habits. It’s more focused on home grown food and homemade food. I observed my grandparents were particular about eating food on time. They had a fixed timetable and maintained enough gap between meals. No snacking between meals was another thing they always mentioned to us. My grandfather always told us to chew the food multiple times and not just swallow it after few times of chewing.
This definitely helps in the long run.
#2 – Walking
This is another great habit. Scientifically also we know walking is good for health. You’ll observe most of the times, elders preferred to walk. They would go on long walks morning or evening. Apart from being a good exercise it’s important to spend sometime in the open. Even if they had to get something from the market they would walk avoiding the public transport or the car. This is a great way to keep yourself physically and mentally fit.
I observed my grandparents and even my husband’s grandmother was very particular about this. She would walk atleast 4 to 5 kilometers even in her 90’s. She passed away at 94 years.
#3 – Planning
Planning for things in advance is another lesson we can learn from elders. I’ve observed my grandparents were great at this. Their days were planned in advance. Even to the extent that the visit to the market on specific days, a fixed timing for going to the temple, fixed time for meals. If there is any event or function in the house they already had a list of activities that need to be done ready and was shared with everyone in the family.
They would fix a time, call everyone, explain everything to everyone, take feedback and suggestions from everyone and handover the details. This was a great way to keep everyone together and value everyone’s point of view as well. Every minute detail was taken care of. The same applied to my parents. I never saw them rushing for things at the last moment. Whatever you needed was just there in the house.
#4 – Listen to others
This is another great lesson we can learn from them. They have all the patience to first listen to others and then suggest or speak about what their point of view of things is. I still remember the story telling session we’ve had with my grandparents. In between and after the story was over they had all the patience to listen to the questions raised by us. Every time they would reply with the same excitement.
They never discouraged any question or talk as irrelevant. After listening to us patiently they would ask questions or remind us about some parts of the story. They would give us a little homework kind of a thing for us to seek answers or try to remember what was spoken. This enabled us to be more focused on the session leading to enhancement of our listening skills.
That moves us to a great point that personal development is not something that you can take lessons or attend classes and learn. It’s something that is part of your growing up.
#5 – Find joy in small things
This one is so true. There isn’t joy always in the materials that we own. Infact small things and moments at times are the bigger life changing events. Have you ever noticed elders finding joy in talking to a child or even spending time with their pet or the people who work for them.
You’ll find them joyful when they see a family picture frame, or remembering an old incident from their life. Just seeing the sunset or sunrise puts a different smile and calmness on their face. Just a walk in the garden and looking at the flowers you’ll see how grateful they are for another day.
I remember one specific incident when I was visiting my grandparents (my mother’s parents) and I told my grandmother that I wanted to wear a Saree (an Indian Traditional Dress). I wanted to dress like her and also click a picture (I still have the picture with me). I was barely few years 4 or 5 years old. I noticed a different kind of a joy on her face. She didn’t discourage me from wearing it.
She had to fold the Saree and make it half of the original size or may be more for sure and then put on me. My grandparents then carried me to the Tonga (a light horse-drawn two-wheeled vehicle used in India) which was parked outside the house and made me sit comfortably. She then called everyone out and with great excitement she was telling everyone that I was her granddaughter. That was such a beautiful experience for me.
Finding joy in smallest of the things is something to learn from them.
There are many more lessons that we can learn from them. The older they get less worried are they about being perfect. This is another one to ponder on. Cherish the wisdom that you get to learn from them.
Did you have any amazing experience learning from your grandparents, parents or other elders? Do share with us in the comments below.