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Teaching Children That They Can Learn From the Elderly

Kris Manley is a blogger, author, and speaker. She's a guest on radio in the U.S., Canada, and overseas, as well as a guest on network TV.

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I remember visiting my grandparents and how much I enjoyed being around them. I used to rub my grandfather's bald head, hold on to my grandmother's soft hands, and comb her thinning silver hair. Some parts of my grandparents' childhood were difficult, but they talked about how they made it through. As children my brother and sister and I were around different ages of people, but for me, who is now taking care of an elderly parent, my experiences as a child has helped me appreciate the elderly. I ask my Mom questions about her life and I learn a lot. I learn about old family recipes, about old fashioned remedies, and about things she misses which she considers the simpler things in life. It is my belief as I have observed in my own little world that most children don't spend a lot of time around elderly people. If they did I believe they would have more compassion, respect, and value for the elderly.

I do realize that families, in today's economy, are "bunking" up together to save money and this "bunking" up together is drawing them closer and children are able to spend more time with elderly relatives, if they are living in the home. If this is the case children can also see how to take care and / or participate in the care of an elderly relative. Children are inquisitive and it would benefit them to be encouraged to spend time with and talk to elderly (or should I say seasoned) individuals.

Have you ever noticed a young child shy away from an elderly individual? Sure you have. How can we teach our children to gravitate and learn from the elderly?

  • Volunteer at assisted living housing and take your child with you. Read to the elderly and allow your child to read to them as well.
  • Serve meals maybe with Meals On Wheels for individuals who are sick and shut-in and take your child with you.
  • There are organizations that provide visiting pets several times a week to assisted living housing. Volunteer with that organization and bring your child with you.
  • Encourage your child to become a Pen Pal to an elderly person. Who doesn't like getting letters? I did something out of the ordinary - I wrote my Mom a letter and mailed it to her, and yes she lives with me. Guess what, she wrote me back.

I believe that when children grow up around elderly individuals there will be less of a disconnect between generations. What do I mean by a disconnect?

  • Young people (our youth) won't lose interest in an older generation
  • The attitude of "some else will take care of the elderly" will be less prevalent and our youth, as they mature, will step up and care for their elderly parents or an elderly relative
  • Our youth will gain respect and compassion for the elderly
  • Our youth will not shy away from the elderly because of physical differences
  • Our youth will realize that someday they will be an elderly individual

Our children should be taught that elderly individuals possess wisdom and knowledge which can assist them live wisely. Our children can learn what mistakes not to make in life by listening to individuals who have been living longer and have experienced what our children will experience. As a child I know that I avoided many mistakes by listening to my elders and I am so glad I listened to them.

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Comments

Donna Kristine (author) from Atlanta, GA on April 11, 2013:

Hi Rpenafiel, thanks for sharing those great statistics.

Rpenafiel from United States on April 09, 2013:

Wonderful hub Kristine! Letting the kids stay with their grand folks shares a mutual positive result for both. The youngster will learn a lot from their elderly while the old folks enjoy their companion. Kids who stay with their grandparents for significant times develop a higher sense of respect for life. Study suggests that old folks who are engaged in social communication (that includes your child talking to your parents) for 3 to 6 hours a day results in a happier mental being. Constant communication also promotes healthier aging for senior citizens. I found it here: http://www.just5.com/story.php?story=1202201312265...

Kim on December 29, 2012:

What a great read.

Nicole on September 22, 2012:

I used to love to sit and listen to my Grandmother for hours. I miss her wisdom. Nice article.

Donna Kristine (author) from Atlanta, GA on February 10, 2012:

Hi Kelley, It is a shame that young people don't spend a lot of time with our elderly - they don't seem to realize that they will be elderly some day as well. Thank you.

kelleyward on February 09, 2012:

Great Hub. I think it's sad that many of us need to take our kids to a nursing home so they can be around elders. There are many families I know who have grandparents who are healthy and active but don't spend much time with their grandchildren. What a loss for this generation. Thanks for this important hub!

Donna Kristine (author) from Atlanta, GA on January 15, 2012:

Hi DeBorrah, thank you.

DeBorrah K Ogans on January 15, 2012:

Krisine, Wonderful, Wise & Thoughtful tips! Thank you for sharing, Peace & Blessings!

Cameron on June 22, 2011:

Wow, this is a great post. Our children would benefit greatly from the elderly.

Donna Kristine (author) from Atlanta, GA on May 10, 2011:

Thank you, howcurecancer

Elena@LessIsHealthy on May 09, 2011:

God bless you for your fantastic work.

Donna Kristine (author) from Atlanta, GA on April 14, 2011:

Hi Sinea Pies, I'm sure you miss your Mom, and God bless you and Lexi for brightening up other people's lives.

Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on April 13, 2011:

Kristine, loved this hub. My mom just passed away. She lived in a nursing home for 2 years. I used to bring my yellow lab, Lexi, with me to visit her. She always brightened up when Lexi arrived, and so did many residents that we stopped to say 'hi" to on the way.

Donna Kristine (author) from Atlanta, GA on April 11, 2011:

Hello Nikki, sounds like your parents had you and your sister on the right track. I remember taking items to elderly church members too. Thanks

Nikki D. Felder from Castle Hayne, N.C. on April 09, 2011:

I like this hub. I feel that volunteering is wonderful. You know, I learned a lot from my parents' actions of going by on Friday evenings to homes of elderly members of our former church, taking elderly things they needed year 'round, visiting nursing homes and taking my sister and I, and by the rapport and respect they maintained with the elderly. I cannot help but confirm to what I know as only normal! Thank you, Nikki D. Felder

Donna Kristine (author) from Atlanta, GA on February 10, 2011:

Jasonycc, it does appear this value for our elderly is losing its ground, but I pray that with reminders, as you stated, this value for our elderly will take root and remain. Blessings. Kris

jasonycc from South East Asia on February 10, 2011:

This value is losing it's ground in today's society. A useful reminder to all.

Wonderful hub. Thanks.

gajanis from Pakistan on January 23, 2011:

Very nice....yes I agree it's a blessing having elderly people at home who could influence upon our kids to be a better individual. But unfortunately, in today's life where concept of united families are getting thinner, this very elderly advantage is also vanishing away....so sad.

QudsiaP1 on January 21, 2011:

Excellent hub, it is so important that we teach our children to value the elderly. They have enough wisdom to save the world.

Drupal Themes on January 18, 2011:

I dont think there is someone else the children can learn from than the elders in family. Hope many agree with this.

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on January 18, 2011:

Wonderful! Sitting and listening is a skill that should be learned by kids of all ages. Our elder population has much wisdom and knowledge to impart!

Donna Kristine (author) from Atlanta, GA on January 14, 2011:

Hi Julie, I agree with you and that's why I am enjoying every moment I have with my Mom.

Julie A. Johnson from Duluth, MN on January 14, 2011:

Good advice-- we often fail to truly appreciate our elders until they're gone. Our children can learn so much from them.

Donna Kristine (author) from Atlanta, GA on January 14, 2011:

Everyone, thank you for the comments. I take care of my Mom, who is 75 years young, and we have a blast together. I so agree that it is a good thing for children to see their parents take care of grandma and grandpa.

kesinee on January 13, 2011:

This is very ncie hub, thank you!!

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on January 13, 2011:

Such a wise thoughtful hub, voted up!

Connie Smith from Tampa Bay, Florida on January 13, 2011:

I agree with this wholeheartedly. Children who see their parents being good to their parents are learning an invaluable lesson, which might just work out in the parents favor in the long run. I am very good to my own mother and I make sure that my grown daughters are good to her too. I have missed my grandparents every day since they've been gone, and yes, I've always loved old people. Now, the time is drawing near for me to have my turn and I am not feeling it at all....

Sweetsusieg from Michigan on January 13, 2011:

I love hanging out with old people!! Well, the folks I hang out with are older than me, some in their 70's, some in their 80's... Not that much older than me, but they love my good natured teasing! They can teach us SO much, that is why I consider some of my very BEST friends, elderly.

Their wrinkles and gray hair disappear when their face lights up in telling me a story from their past. One day I may be in their shoes and I hope to be able to say that I'm as much fun as they are!

Great Hub, Thanks!

Donna Kristine (author) from Atlanta, GA on January 06, 2011:

Thank you. My Mom says she remembers sitting at the feet of her grandmother while getting her hair done and listening to the elderly laugh and tell stories.

Rhonda Musch from The Emerald Coast on January 05, 2011:

Everyone should learn from their elders, as well as respect them. Children need to learn this at an early age. Great hub.

words2inspire on January 05, 2011:

Great Wisdom! Since I was young girl, I enjoyed talking and learning from wise elders.