By Ron Tatro, Director of Michigan Elder Justice Coordinating Council at Elder Law of Michigan
There are many challenges to aging such as medical conditions, financial concerns, isolation, and distance from loved ones. As we age, we often reflect on days gone by and how everything has changed. Much of what we knew as a younger person is different today with a new generation taking over.
This reflection often leads to observations and judgments about the people who are following us. How many times have you heard someone say, “When I was young…” “No one wants to work these days.” “Young people just want to look at their phones, they don’t know how to relate to anyone.”
We seldom reflect inward, looking at the mistakes we made, the times we disappointed someone else, made a poor decision or choice, or used poor judgment. Do you recall your parents using many of the same judgmental phrases we use today?
I have been fortunate in recent years to spend time with some high school and college students. I have found them to be bright, engaged, inquiring, respectful, and most of all, seeing life from a unique perspective. It has afforded me the opportunity to see life through their eyes, to learn what is important to them, and what they think of the future.
We seniors play an influential role in helping to shape the next generation. We can support them, forgive them, and when the opportunity arises, share our thoughts and knowledge. Recently, I was speaking with a college senior. At the end of our conversation, I thanked him for taking the time to visit me. He responded with, “I always have time to learn wisdom.” I was deeply touched by his comment.
We are living in turbulent times, as have many generations before us. We will persevere. It takes a village to create a society where everyone is valued and respected. We must all contribute to the effort. If we do so, we will be just fine.
Until the next time.
Ron Tatro joined Elder Law of Michigan in 2007 as the Director of Consumer Fraud and Elder Abuse Prevention Services. He is currently the Director of the Michigan Elder Justice Coordinating Council providing services to community based elder abuse prevention projects throughout Michigan.