Hope you’re all doing well!
Whether its smiling, picking up and disposing a piece of trash, or opening the door for someone, I truly believe that small acts of kindness can go a long way.
I think that one act of kindness that is often overlooked is lending our ears to others and simply listening to them.
Obviously listening skills are a vital aspect of communication and they are an important skill to have in both our personal and professional lives however, in this post, I am referring to giving up a few minutes to listen to the elders in our families and communities.
Without a doubt, there is a strong chance that by listening to our elders we will reap at least some benefits from their stories. After all they have been on Earth longer than we the younger generation have and as a result they have gone through a lot of the ups and downs of life.
It is definitely true that in this modern day and age the circumstances of our lives have changed however, our core needs as humans have not changed and we can certainly apply some of the lessons they have learned through their experiences to our own lives.
Without going on a tangent, I think that our youth obsessed culture often fails to give our older generations the respect that they deserve. However, the point that I would like to emphasize is that by listening to our elders we may brighten their day and give them a sense of respect and worthiness that they may not have felt in a while.
In my personal experience, my grandparents and other elders would often tell me stories about their own youth and younger years. Many of these stories are interesting but as the storyteller ages their stories often become repetitive but I try to listen with patience and I would encourage you to do the same.
I often remember visiting my late grandfather and he would be sitting on his chair and looking lonely and sad. I would try to cheer him up by asking him to tell me a story about his younger days. And sure enough he would tell me about his days as a young CEO of a construction company in his hometown.
Often times these stories would go on for quite some time because he would describe everything in great detail.
I always noticed that after the story was over, my grandfathers’ face would seem much brighter and more joyful. Aside from my grandfather I have noticed a similar phenomenon in my other elders as well.
This experience of listening to elders has really opened my eyes to how much joy we can provide to someone by just listening to them. Of course, this is especially true of our elders. By listening, I mean truly putting our phones and other distracting gadgets away and truly giving the storyteller our undivided attention.
I think that sometimes we forget that many of these elders have had, prominent careers and rewarding relationships, and they definitely deserve to be respected and treated as a source of wisdom.
Ultimately, if we are fortunate enough to live a long life we will eventually grow older ourselves and by respecting and showing kindness to our elders now, hopefully when it is our time we will be shown the same kindness and respect.