Friday, February 09, 2007

When you teach your son, you teach your son's son.
The Talmud (with thanks to Sharon W.)

I am a member of an international men's group with 30,000+ members around the world. Among the subgroups (we call them missions...but I digress) that meet are the men 50 years old and older. We call them Elders, and we talk about the old ways.

Time was, a boy went through initiation and transitioned into manhood. This, in turn, earned him a seat by the fire, a seat in a circle of men. From within that circle, a man chose mentors. He might ask one man to teach him to hunt and another how to build. In our circles, it is not unusual to ask a younger man to be one's mentor. Still, there is something unique about the Elders and what they bring to the circle. A lot of that has to do with experience.

During introductions (check in), Elders will say something like, "I'm Dick, and I have 65 years of life experience." We don't take kindly to old folks jokes and don't have senior moments. I am happy to say there is a certain deference given the Elders by the younger men. I say that because it is in the societies that venerate their elders that we find longevity and functionality into old age. Here and today, we warehouse our old when they become a burden or just a nuisance. Other societies keep the elders at home where they are respected and serve as role models for the children.

Of course, it behooves a man to live in integrity and to be of service if he is to expect respect when he becomes old. I am sadden by the many young men in our society who do not have a father that participates in the boys life. I am sadden by the lack of role models in so many young men's lives. Sad to say, too many "men" abandon their responsibilities and are, in my judgment, too self serving.

Another saying we have is: Wisdom comes with age. Sometimes, age comes alone.

Paddle safe...



Michael said...

Good post today, Dick! The fact that women form a growing majority in most universities suggests that many young men are falling out of the future. Our schools are not meeting societies needs, IMO. I've often believed that 'Elders' or something like them are needed to bring these fellows in from the 'cold' before they are lost forever.
On another topic, I'll look into providing an 'instant fleecy' button to my log when posting items on the arctic!

Silbs said...

Interesting thoughts, Michael. Makes sense. I work in a high school mentoring program and see some bright and wonderful young men coming up in the world.

derrick said...

Great post today!