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Why Listen To Your Elders


What is old

The Bible says, the glory of a young man is his strength, of an old man his experience. In today's society old is relative, especially when living to a ripe old age is the norm. Can't you remember when you were, say, oh, about fifteen, you probably thought old was about thirty. So when I say listen to your elders, that could just be someone in their thirties. I feel, however for the most part, that life's experiences are more valuable beginning around the mid forties.

I once heard an example, concerning the relationship of age to knowledge, that went something like this: "Are you about ten years old, wouldn't you agree that you know more than you did when you were about five? What about twelve, you can say that you certainly know more than you did at ten. Are you fifteen, you know everything don't you, well at least you know enough to know that you are smarter than you were at twelve?" Profound, wouldn't you say!

Another one says, "at fifteen, you'd better leave home now while you know everything." These thoughts in part could apply to most of us. Think about this, whatever age you are, you can look back and say, "if I knew then what I know now," meaning with a little knowledge you would have made different choices. Well, with age comes wisdom, and it is the wise person that knows that they don't know it all, and that there is always room for improvement.

When I was about fifteen, "I knew everything,"( at least that's what I thought), I would look at my mother and think (seriously now), that she was just not that smart. When I was in my twenties, my mother said something to me one day, in the way of advice, I turned to see where that voice was coming from. Why, it was my mother, (the previously not so smart woman), and I thought, "this is the wisest woman I know. And to this day I still feel the same way. Maya Angelou can't hold a candle to her. Although I would love to sit at the feet of Miss Angelou and soak up some of that age old wisdom.

I love older people. Sometimes I will engage an older person in conversation just to hear what they have to say, and I really do listen. Because the wisdom that they dispense is, for the most part, not from  books, but from the book of life. Older women have what we use to call in the south, "mother-wit. " For the most part, their inherit wisdom is not written down anywhere, although it should be. Most of the time the learned men/women pooh, pooh the advice from the older ones, because they've found "a better way." Think about it, if you are around fifty, did your parents raise you from a book? (I'm just saying). I am going to go on record here to say, that, I did learn a thing or two from Dr. Benjamin Spock, things like toilet training, weening from the bottle, and things of that nature, however, I took even that with a grain of salt.

What to listen for

In saying listen to our elders, what should we hear. Women, we should hear wise advice on raising our children, how to have a meaningful and lasting spousal relationship, career choices, getting along with our peers, etc. Advice on raising children, should feel right. We might look at an older woman and say, because of her failures, why should I listen to her. Think about this, if she has failed, she is probably the best person to accept advice from, because she can, in hindsight see the mistakes that she's made. She might make the statement, "If I had to do it all over again," and then proceed to do just that, do it all over again vicariously through the advice that she gives.

For instance, if she failed at her marriage, she can look back and see that maybe, she could have given more of herself. Perhaps she can see how she let herself be a doormat, and can tell you how not to let that happen to you. What if she raised not so successful children, and can see where she failed, that's valuable information that she can pass on to you. So accept it in the spirit that it is given.

Younger men, what about an older man's advice? Of course, taking advice from someone that has set good examples throughout his life goes without saying, by all means take the advice and run with it. But what about the man that has looked back on his life, and saw the damage that he has done to his spouse, children, friends, etc. Don't you think, if he is telling you how not to be the man that he was, you should listen?

Suppose that he didn't spend time with his children and they didn't have what they needed to grow into responsible adults. Well, when he tells you how not to live his life, shouldn't you listen. What about the wives that he's been through, or just the one that he didn't treat right?  I heard a TV mogul say once, when asked about his regrets, he said something to the effect, that he wished that he had treated his wives differently. So maybe this type of man has just the advice that you need, to keep you from falling into that trap. I could go on with this line of thought, but I hope you understand where I'm coming from.


As was stated in the beginning, older is relative. Twenty somethings, don't think there's nothing thirty somethings can tell you. Consider this, couldn't you give advice to a ten year old, don't you think that he should listen to your advice? This applies to any age. What you want to do is listen for the ring of truth, or what sounds like good advice. Sixty somethings...... we're also never too old to learn, we can look to seventy years and older for advice. Whatever the age, if you respect those that came before you, you can learn valuable lessons. Just remember, they've been where you have yet to go, and they know what awaits you on the other side. So when an older person speaks, sit up, take notice, and perhaps you too will, in time, be considered worthy of passing on your wisdom.


Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on November 21, 2017:

Thanks Awoyale

I hope that your talk went well.

Awoyale oluwaseun on November 16, 2017:

hi Awoyale oluwaseun..I'll be giving a brief talk on listening to elders on Sunday @church so I decided to check for clue on what to say really broke things down already and am happy to read this ...thanks mam

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on September 12, 2012:

Scroll to Continue

Thanks Nina, so glad you found this hub after so many months. So far so good with me and my fam. Oh, you might not have heard, but I just finished a segment of a new reality show that's set to air mid December, based on a hub I wrote about cleaning. They found me on the Internet through HubPages.

Nina L James from chicago, Illinois on September 12, 2012:

Hello Fastfreta, what an awesome hub. I really wish the generation of today would take the time to listen to what us older people have to say. It seems as if they "know everything". Little do they know that they have so many years ahead of them with obstacles to face. To this day, I can still hear my mother's voice in my head giving me that much needed direction for my life!! I find as I get older that I'm never too old to receive instructions from my elders. I hope that everything is going well for you and your family. Voted up.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on April 01, 2011:

I do agree Rudra, on both points. And thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment, hope to see you again soon.

Rudra on April 01, 2011:

It is so important to listen to our elders. We was taught to listen to ours as a child (now we dont). Brilliant article.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on February 26, 2011:

Thanks wendy87 for the validation, especially since it comes from just the age I'd like to reach.

wendy87 on February 26, 2011:

Yor wrote awesome but each new generation thinks it is better than previous.that is the reason youngster like me don't listen some times.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on January 25, 2011:

You're so right meeka.sunny, and it's too bad that it happens that way, but that's the way it's always been. Even though it has always been like that doesn't mean it has to stay that way, so hopefully some can listen and learn from their elders, and subsequently pass it on. Anyway thank you for stopping, hope to see you again.

meeka.sunny from Ontario, Canada on January 25, 2011:

This is a great hub especially for many young people like me. Most often the Wisdom that we can get from elders are golden. But the problem is many youngsters like me want to fail first before they listen. :)

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on January 24, 2011:

Edoka Writes, you're very fortunate to have elders, and you're very smart to listen to them, I truly applaud you for that. Thank you so much for the visit, please come back.

Edoka Writes on January 24, 2011:

I love this hub. It felt good reading it- I love my elders and I follow their advice often. I'm blessed with two great-grandmother's and I pay attention to every detail of their current and younger lives.

God bless.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on February 03, 2010:

Thank you Linda for taking time to read this hub and for your comment. Please stop again.

Linda Todd from Charleston on February 03, 2010:

Wonderfully said. It is true that the younger generation thinks differently than we did. We did not dare say the things to our parents that they do now. I agree with you and it is a great hub.

thanks so much,Linda

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on January 08, 2010:

HubCrafter, I thank you so much for your comments, your memory of those scriptures appear to be spot on. Thank you for stopping and reading. See you soon.

HubCrafter from Arizona on January 08, 2010:

Hey fastfreta:

Nice lead-in girl. Proverbs 20:29. "The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is their grey hair."

I like your interpretation.

Here's a few proverbs that I love dearly.They've shaped me and changed my heart and my life.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.

The mind of a man plans his way: but the Lord directs his steps.

There is a way that seems right to a man; but the way leads only to death.

My memory may not be as good as yours but then..God is good and that's good enough.


Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on December 09, 2009:

Thank you GrannyPants for your vote of confidence. Thanks for stopping and reading my hub. Please visit me again soon.

GrannyPants on December 09, 2009:

Hallelujah! We need more talk like this on the web! I second your point. I am a grandmother of 7 with the 8th on the way.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on September 18, 2009:

Thank you Hello, hello again, I wish that parents would start early to teach that lesson to their children, but it's never too late. Thanks for stopping by, and for the comment.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on September 18, 2009:

Your Hub is just great I wish many or most of the youngster would read it. I am sure they would come to their senses.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on September 14, 2009:

Thank you shirleybill, I agree, I too hope that more people will take heed. Thanks for dropping in.

shirleybill from Texas on September 13, 2009:

Very informative. I hope more people read this one.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on September 01, 2009:

Thank you DeBorrah for stopping by, and for your wise comment. Please come back again soon.

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans on September 01, 2009:

Great Hub!


I love the wisdom of older people as well. They have a way of making you appreciate Now; because you just do not know how long later will be.

Thanks for sharing.



Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 27, 2009:

Thank you both for stopping by. Marketing Truth I too count Proverbs among my most favorite books of the Bible. Lady E too bad some of the youth of today don't realize what they are missing by not listening.

Elena from London, UK on August 27, 2009:

Totally with you. We gain a lot by listening to our elders. They help us avoid the pit holes of life, as they share their experiences. :)

Marketing Truth on August 27, 2009:

Thanks Fastfreta,

There is much wisdom within your hub. That's why I love the book of Proverbs for the wisdom that it shares. We can never get enough... Thanks for the share.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 27, 2009:

Thanks AllMomNeeds2Know for stopping by. I totally agree with your assessment of our western culture.

AllMomNeeds2know on August 27, 2009:


In other cultures elders are highly respected, we need to do this more in the western world. Just talking to someone with lifes experience can teach you so much. I was speaking to a man at the park the other day and he told me about all kinds of gems in our area and the history that I had no idea about. It's interesting that you say at different ages we think another young age is old, it's true. Great article:)

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 20, 2009:

Thank you mentalyhillarious, for your comment. I like that term, "smart," I must use it sometime.

mentalyhillarious on August 20, 2009:

Wow, such a pleasure to read! Looks like you really have respected your elders! Or just learned from your own mistakes. In my twenties I remember telling my children...."we do not call people old" "we call them smart, because they have been around for a long time does not make them old, for the experience and knowledge of the time they have been alive make them SMART" And till today we talk about smart people! Thanks again for sharing! p.s Great grandma got a kick out of my teachings to her grandchildren. Respect for the very smart people has been dwindling and I would love to see parents their children to bring that back. From a future smart woman to another.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 20, 2009:

Thanks Kmadhav, wise sayings from one so young. Thanks for the validation also.

Kmadhav from New delhi on August 19, 2009:

Older people Love is always like a Shadow of Tree which prevents us from hot sunrays, and other extreme conditions. Fastfreta every holy book says respect to your elders because whatever we learned in life all credits goes to our elder people. Elder people is not always as our family members but sometimes our neighbours or teacher or senior member in office.

Great hub again.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 17, 2009:

Thank you James Ginn, for stopping by and validating my hub!

James Ginn from Ohio on August 17, 2009:

Sage advice. I too thought I knew everything about everything when I was younger. Until I bloodied my nose a few times. Then, who do you think I ran to for comfort? That's right, Mama and Papa. Either my own, or someone else's. Thank you.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 13, 2009:

Thanks candledawn, for your comments, it's comments like this that continues to validate my words.

candledawn from Southwest Florida, USA on August 13, 2009:

Cool hub! There's a lot of wisdom that could be imparted to us by our elders! I think of all the life lessons and wisdom I've learned from my Grandmother for instance. I treasure her, her knowledge and advice. Thanks for an enjoyable read!

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 12, 2009:

Thanks Seasons for stopping by.

Concetta Ellis from Southern California on August 12, 2009:

LOVED IT~ Words to live by. ")

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 12, 2009:

Thanks Ashley Joy for stopping by. Now you must pick up the baton and pass on the wisdom to those younger than yourself.

Ashley Joy on August 12, 2009:

Excellent advice! I did not know just how good the things my grandparents were saying to me were until I grew older. I only wish they were still around to tell me more.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 12, 2009:

Thanks pejupu for stopping by.

pejupu on August 12, 2009:

Great points.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 10, 2009:

I so appreciate the dialogue that this hub has sparked, I hope it will continue. Thanks Mireille G for the feedback.

Mireille G from Kansas on August 10, 2009:

As an older person of course I think the younger generation should listen. But it is also our responsibility as elders to give them a reason to listen, and the listening needs to go in both directions. We also should listen to what the young have to say, if for nothing else to show them how to listen. We can always learn from each other.

Thanks for a good post fastfreta.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 10, 2009:

Thanks tony! You must be in my head.

tony0724 from san diego calif on August 10, 2009:

No this Is my first exposure to your hubs . I will be checking your other hubs though .Best to you

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 10, 2009:

Thanks tony, for your comment, and compliment. Come back again! I wonder from your first paragraph, if you were referring to my latest hub, because you hit that one on the head also.

tony0724 from san diego calif on August 10, 2009:

Here stateside our western culture celebrates youth . It Is what sells , and our media and entertainment are saturated with It . I was lucky enough as a wild youngster to have a man named Al who was like my surrogate father . And the most Important lesson he ever taught me about what It means to be a man Is that a man Is responsible !

Most of our youth today completely disregard older folk , they just live In the past etc. etc. And I was no different I knew everything ! Nowadays as I am getting a bit older I have less answers and more questions .

Thx for a good read !

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 10, 2009:

Thanks Shalini for your comment and compliment. How I wish that I had put that bit of wisdom in my hub. Okay somebody, new hub.

Shalini Kagal from India on August 10, 2009:

Wonderful hub - experience is such a wonderful teacher! And that experience can come from someone younger too as DoodleLyn said. Elders have so much they can tell us - if only we listen.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 10, 2009:

Thanks ladydijay for stopping by.

ladydijay on August 10, 2009:

What you say is on spot. My ears perk up when an older person speaks, they can say the funniest things. True wisdom of course. I think that their life span can depend on how they were able to live life, get over the lumps, and able to often laugh about it. Thumbs up for wise elders.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 10, 2009:

Thank you alekhouse, I also have learned from my children, however, this hub is directed toward those of us that might have a problem with accepting counseling. I knew that research would bring out some great advice and quotes, and I'm thankful to see them. Thank you so much for that quote, and for that I wish that I had done research, but you know me and research, (smile).

Nancy Hinchliff from Essex Junction, Vermont on August 10, 2009:

Good hub, Freta, I totally agree with your perspective on "failure". Here's an interesting quote from Dale Carnegie (He believed that we should develop success from failures) Quote: "Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success."

In addition, I have to agree with Doodlelyn. I too have two daughters (pictured with me on my avatar) I've learned a lot from.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 09, 2009:

Thanks ashleyr for stopping by! I hope that you continue to listen to your mother, you know she only has your best interest at heart.

ashleyr24 on August 09, 2009:

Wonderful HUB fastfreta with wonderful advise. I too was one of those know-it-all teenagers, since I am older now, I take what my mother has to say very much to heart. She seems to know what she is talking about and she is a very good writer! Keep up the good work, I enjoy reading your blogs

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 09, 2009:

Thanks prasetio30 for your insightful comments.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 09, 2009:

Thanks DoodleLyn, I enjoy hearing from you. I totally agree with you about learning from everyone. That might be a subject for another hub.

DoodleLyn from Upstate New York, USA on August 09, 2009:

Hi fastfreta,

Loved this hub! There is some very good advice here. I would add that we can actually learn from younger people, too. I have actually learned so much from my young adult daughter. I think, as an "older person," I tend to discount what the younger generation has to say, when, indeed, they may have some very relevant ideas. I found that to be so, at least, with my daughter. So I guess we can learn from everyone. I do agree, fully, however, that our elders have so much to hand down from life experience! Thank you for sharing as only you can, with humor, fun, and certainly class.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on August 09, 2009:

I always appreciate some one who older than me. like my parents, my teacher, and all who elder than me. I think they have a lot of experience that me the younger. I think their advice still good for me. And I have to listen it. I alwways teach it to my student. they have to respect and obey what their parents said.thanks for share , great topic.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 08, 2009:

Thanks beautyrose for stopping by, enjoyed your comments. Thanks for sharing.

beautyrose on August 08, 2009:

You know I really enjoy listening to the stories of old people specially there experiences about war and all there hardship. Sometimes I got caught struck up by there punch line also that are really based on experienced. Sad to say I don't have grandparents anymore but I still take time to listen to other people's grandma or grandpa if just given a chance. I also not fail to listen to my own mother since my father has died already 2 years ago. Its really very true that children of young generation should listen to the advise of there elder cause they are more experienced already. They have the wisdom already whom they can share to us who are a bit younger than them. Nice hub at least your reviving some old values in life.

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 07, 2009:

emohealer, thank you again and again, you make me want to write and write!

Sioux Ramos from South Carolina on August 07, 2009:

I appreciate reading what you write so much. Maybe because as being a southerner, I can hear you in my head talking as if a conversation as I read. You write the way I conversate. I see a link here, greatness comes in small packages. Thanks again

Alfreta Sailor (author) from Southern California on August 07, 2009:

create a page, you spoil me. Thanks, ever so much.

create a page from Maryland, USA on August 07, 2009:

Excellent advice and great hub. I will send my children this link. You did it again fastfreta.

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