Monday, January 17, 2011

Respecting Your Elders

In my line of work, I deal with a large percentage of older adults. It is no surprise, and it is often admitted by older adults themselves, that this demigraphic strongly dislikes change.

However, life is full of change, and we are living in a moment in history when the change from week to week is literally equivalent to the changes occurring in a century for most of history. Change has exploded into an ever quickening pace. More has been learned in the 20th century than all of human history combined. It truly is an unbelievable time to live!

Leading an organization, leading for best practices in communities, that means I am advocating change often. Sometimes those changes are small. Sometimes they are big.

Unfortunately, I have found that resistance to change often finds the most base, ad hominem arguments, which gets to my point: At what point does the "I'm 90..." become a trump card?

It leaves us with giving up and letting resistance to change have its way, or it becomes the perception that you're "attacking a 90 yr. old."

I guess maybe I'm jealous. I want a trump card that shames everybody even when their logic is sound. "No! You can't do that! I have brown eye brows! You just leave little ole me with brown eyebrows out. You non brown-eyebrow-liker!" Man that would be awesome to pull out when I'm obviously not right. The brown eyebrow trump card...something I didn't decide and don't control...but makes me right nonetheless.

I'm also tired. Tired of fighting. I'm tired of "That's not the way we've done it." I'm tired of "You're just young." I'm tired of "You'll learn some day." I'm tired of "Old people are left out." These accusations are merely that...accusations, ad hominem attacks that surface when the facts prove a point.

Yet, culturally, we let these arguments stand...and win. I guess I have a lot to learn about respecting my elders because I just can't when they play these games.

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