Why We Need Old People: The Gift of Perspective

In 1992, the movie Prelude to a Kiss (based on a play of the same title) debuted with an interesting twist of the Freaky Friday theme of two people switching bodies. The difference in this film is that the two people who switch are strangers: a young bride and an old man. Their own personal desires trigger this supernatural event. The old man looks at her as one with her whole life before her, and he desires this passionately. She, on the other hand, looks at his completed life with relief–the fear of failure and disaster having passed. The bride, afraid of life, wishes to have life behind her.

Though this movie and play are about 30 years old, the idea introduced here is not. While we can not have the magical change of bodies that occurs in the movie, we can have something even better–we can gain the perspective of those who have already done life.

Making Life Decisions Is Hard

We all have many decisions to make. We make choices about relationships, careers, homes, and hobbies. The plethora of choices is both exhilarating and frightening. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the steps we need to take to progress through life. Those who are older have a benefit those who are younger do not have. They have life experience that is layered. They know what it’s like to be a 10-year-old, a 20-year-old, a 30-year-old, and so on.  Those who young have a much more limited range. 

These experiences provide an insight into life that we can benefit from. How did they make those big decisions in life? How has God worked in them and lead them? How did they get through the difficult times?

As one who is now in my forties and is in many ways feeling like the best of me is waning, I’m coming to realize I still have so much more to give. I can offer my words of experience and hope. God has always seen me through. I can look back over my life and see His guidance through every step.

Find an Older Mentor

When you are young and every event feels enormous, it’s hard to imagine the bigger picture of life. Those who have been down the road have seen life after big events. They know marriage, they know deaths of loved ones, they know divorce, they know career change, they know seasons of spiritual growth and spiritual dryness. But, most importantly, they know what it is like to walk with a faithful God through the big and small events of every day.  For this reason, it is wise to find an older person whom you admire and reach out to them for guidance.

I remember once speaking with a teenage girl who was receiving different kinds of advice from different adults. I told her to look at their lives. Whose life does she respect? Whose life does she want her life to look like? This is a helpful tool when choosing a mentor.

Read the rest of the article here on Daily PS.

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