So... I want to harness the power of old people. Why? And what does this mean? What power do "old people" possess that young people do not? Well obviously, there are the wrinkles, probably a caravan, some old cups, many faded pictures, grey hair, a few funny stories, and a funky smell... To be honest I feel that our aged friends are often only seen for these things.
The sad fact is that many people who are climbing the ladder of years feel deeply redundant... at least this is what I have picked up. Elderly people somehow get the message that they are no longer needed, they are out of touch, and have a sense that no one cares what becomes of them in this fast paced, rapidly changing world.
I however want to harness the power of the elderly because they have somethings' that I simply do not have. They have skills, they have patience, they have know how, they have tools (actually I may well have more tools than many of them... but they still have some funky old tools), and they often possess money but value it less than me.
Most importantly they have time, Time to burn, and from where I sit it would appear that they do not know what to do with their time. So they potter, I love to potter by the way, and they do some stuff here and there like join the crime watch... I bet some of you have had a spotlight shone on you by an elderly member of the crime watch team suspecting you were up to no good... and I bet you were up to no good you rascal!
So anyway, they have time, but if I am honest it would appear that time is their curse. Their pottering grows dull and it dawns on them that they lack an idea to capture their time, their skills, their wisdom, and their money. "Old people" are under utilised. They dream of having dreams and get ideas about getting ideas, but then exhausted by this they decide to have a nap.
I feel that after many unsuccessful attempts at generating a dream they give up and now we have a whole generation of grey nomads who retire in a caravan (I think this is kinda cool by the way). I can understand why this happens as it is the only clear dream they can grab a hold of; the dream of adventure and things unseen and unknown. I think this is great apart from the fact that this so often becomes the only dream they dream. I lament.
My dream is this; that people who have dreamt ideas of Kingdom status, ideas that make the world a better place, would find ways to harness the power of "old people". By power I do not mean strength, but their wisdom, their time, their knowledge, their skills, and their money. These "old people" may well know how to achieve these dreams better that you or I. I believe there can exist this synergy between old and young that is a taste of a world worth living in.
I lament the fact that many of my peers are worrying about their retirement plans right now, when they should be giving their energies to dreaming and seeking things worth seeking.
I dream of hopeless youths being taught by hopeless "old people" how to create things that awaken imagination and hope in both. Hope for the youth that the life that lies before them is not despairingly boring and impersonal. Hope for the elderly person that they are needed and valued.
I had a great man from the church I grew up in help me to fibreglass the first surfboard I made. I learnt skills, and discovered possibilities that blew my mind and have shaped where I am today, able to live of the things I create. I am very thankful to this person (you know who your are). There is real power when you show people glimpses of what is possible!
In the next five years I hope that I can articulate some idea that captures some peoples minds and hearts. An idea that will take many people to pull off, and will require a lot of money and skill. An idea that in particular will depend upon the buy in of some "old people" to see it come to fruition.
As a disclaimer... I hope that the "old people" who read this are not offended by what I have to say here. Instead I hope they feel believed in and loved. I am by no means saying that "old people" should not potter or travel about in caravan. I also do not want to define exactly what age an "old person" is, generally I mean retired people, but "old people" may be as young as thirty...
All I am saying is that I want to harness the power of old people.
Jared Diprose is a graduate from Carey Baptist College in New Zealand. He is a self-employed carver and craftsman, you can view some of his work at www.jareddiprose.co.nz. He speaks when invited, writes when he can, and believes in the power of words to shape lives.
Jared Diprose' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/jared-diprose.html