Psalm 79:1 Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.
Who is the oldest member of your family? How many close relatives do you have over age eighty who still have a sound mind? These are those to whom you need to go this week if possible. They know so much that no one else in your family knows.
A formerly popular song has a line, “Listen to what the children say. Ain’t it funny what the children say.” Maybe so, but the voices of the elderly will soon be silent and we will not be able to hear those. They do have much to say, but often, nobody listens. Walk the halls of a nursing home or senior care facility. They are all very quiet. It appears that nobody is interested in the library of knowledge they carry.
Here are some questions I believe they might like to answer. Also, our children may value this information if we take time to collect it and keep it in a scrapbook or genealogy record for them. Wouldn’t you like to know the following about your grandparents. You probably have other things you would like to know:
- Who was president when you were born? What year was that? Did you ever get to see a president or perhaps be present during a presidential speech?
- Did your parents own an automobile and if so, what kind?
- What were schools like when you were in elementary school?
- How old were you when you took your first job? What was the pay then?
- At what age did your parents allow you to be alone or without adult supervision?
- Did doctors make house calls when you were a child?
- Do you remember your grandparents? What interesting stories did they tell you? (While talking with them, write names, dates and states of the oldest family members they remember. Find out if they know the year your family came to this country.)
Today, it feels like everybody has a hand-held device reading something that most will have forgotten by tomorrow. Yet many of these who have a lifetime of experience and wisdom will take it to their graves. I think we do care, we just do not always know how to approach the elderly. Maybe just a simple “Hello, do you have time to talk today?” could be a beginning.