Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Those Before Us 9-16-09 Editor's Column

Perhaps this will sound a bit morbid, but each time I look at an obituary - especially those of senior citizens - I can’t help but think about what the world lost with that person’s passing.

I sit and wonder about the things that each person accomplished while on Earth and what kind of impact it had or who was inspired by it and what that meant for those who followed in their footsteps.

Then I get to thinking, am I taking advantage of the people in my life who have done great things or have great stories to share about their life experiences?

The best example of this that I can cite are my parents. There is a lifetime of experience that they have and things that even I have never heard about, but I’m sure many lessons that I could apply to my own life.

In that regard, I do try to glean what I can from them when they have advice or when they share a story that I haven’t heard before.

After all, why shouldn’t I? While the popular response is to suggest that people my age think we know everything there is to know already, I take no shame in admitting that there are a lot of things that I have yet to do that my parents, grandparents and many of my family members have done first.

While generational gaps will provide plenty of moments that my parents will need my knowledge, I know for a fact that I have asked more questions of them than they have of me.

The fact of the matter is, there is a wealth of knowledge resting directly in the hands of the generations that have come before us, whatever the age.

While there is a great deal of history to learn about from books and what we hear about in school, there is also a great deal of it that we can learn from the people closest to us who actually lived it and were part of history.

That being said, I would encourage everyone to take the time and ask someone who is your senior about his or her life and what happened in it. Perhaps you’ll hear about a great accomplishment that you never knew about. Maybe you’ll hear about a new perspective regarding a historic event.

Don’t let the knowledge and experiences of those before us go without being shared. After all, we are the ones who will carry on the stories and the memories.

And remember, with each new story, be sure to enjoy the view.

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