I have an older friend. When I say he’s older, let me clarify by adding he’s older because he’s older than me - not particularly old. This friend has taught me a lot of things that he himself probably doesn't realize he taught me. I have watched him, heard from him, and he has spoken into my life. He is a man with decades of wisdom! He is so wise, but understands how to listen. He is a man that fully grasps that God has given him two ears and one mouth. This is a man who is not a push-over or a coward, but rather has the wisdom to speak authoritatively when necessary and the wisdom to speak gently when necessary. There is much I can learn from my friend!!
Sadly, many younger people see an older person and think they are of no value; I beg to differ! The value of the wisdom offered by a seasoned person who you allow and give freedom to speak into your life is more critical to your life than you will ever know. There is such an absence in our day of strong, godly, wise men that many of the younger men are left ill-equipped and with a void in their lives and a longing for mentorship. I thank God for my friend - a rare treasure in my day.
Here is a snippet for you to ponder from a recent article I read written by Bryan Loritts entitled, "The Age of Agesism” posted February 17, 2014.
Recently a pastor friend of mine was sharing a much too common experience: Young men reach out to meet with him. He carves time out of his busy schedule and arranges a breakfast. Then the following happens:
- The young man shows up a few minutes late.
- He then proceeds to small talk the pastor to death.
- Finally, after prompting from the pastor as it relates to the whole point why the young man wants to meet, gets around to the purpose, kind of.
- He doesn’t turn his phone off, even answers calls and texts.
- As the pastor is sharing pearls of wisdom in answer to his long belabored question, the young man is not taking any notes.
- Through it all the man is relating to the pastor as if they are peers.
- When the check comes he doesn’t offer to pay, and barely says thank you.
Young man let me help you. If you can make these things a part of your DNA, all kinds of doors will be open for you:
1. The older, wiser, more seasoned and experience man that you reached out to, to help, well, you, is not your peer. He’s been somewhere that you have not, and has something that you desire. So treat him with dignity and respect. Don’t call him by his first name until he gives you permission to do so.
2. Because of his status, assume that his time is way more valuable than yours. Therefore don’t waste his time. Show up early. Beat him to the meeting.
3. Bring something to write with. Taking notes sends the message that you value his time and what he has to say.
4. Unless you are taking notes on your phone (and if so let him know you are, so he doesn’t think you’re fooling around), turn the phone off.
5. If you didn’t do so before the meeting, within the first five minutes let him know exactly what you want to talk about, and have well thought out questions prepared to ask.
6. I don’t care how broke you are, your mama may have had to give you bus fare to get to the restaurant, offer to pay for breakfast (and pray he turns you down!). It’s just good manners.
7. Thank him profusely for his time.
8. And if you want to really go the extra mile, send him a thank you note when it’s all said and done.