You Old People, You’re Boring…REALLY???

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by Kenneth Justice

~ Last week President Obama gave a speech in which he finished up his remarks with an observation about old people, “And, by the way, the older people here, as wise and as respected as you may be: your stuff is often boring. Compared to what they’re doing” he said.

There is nothing really new or special about the President’s statement, the story of humanity has always enveloped a theme of older people becoming stale and irrelevant, while younger people want whatever is new and hip.

Unfortunately, a society in which the young people become disenfranchised from the older people, is a culture that will eventually suffer. After all, to borrow the colloquialism, we all know there is nothing new under the sun, and there is no use in reinventing the wheel. And when young people become disconnected from their elders this is the very thing that ends up happening; they end up making the same mistakes that humans have made over and over because they haven’t learned from their elders.

President Obama came into office like many of his predecessors, with a lot of energy and rhetoric. Obama rallied record numbers of youths to get out to vote, they showed up believing that one man (or woman) could make the world a better place.Yet those of us who have studied history know that one man (or woman) can not make the world a better place. President Obama is no more powerful than anyone else, and when massive amounts of young people became disillusioned after Obama turned out to be not much different than other politicians, many of them streamed to my table at coffee crying out their displeasure.

The people in Greece are beginning to grumble again. Over the past few months they kicked out their “old regime” government (who in many ways were very unethical and greedy) and replaced it with a new dude who promised (under the guise of socialism) a lot of things. New dude is now getting heat from the people who elected him, because it turns out that it is one thing to make a lot of promises, it is another to actually fulfill those promises.

It is the same story over and over; men and women promises all sorts of things in order to get elected, and people keep falling for their campaign promises. While I still vote, I don’t have any delusions that the people we put in office will actually bring about much change (or at least “good” change).

When will we realize that we are making the same mistakes as our ancestors? When will we realize that we keep putting our hope in people who promise us the moon, and end up mooning us with their naked butt?

Many of my closest coffee house friends are twice my age. It’s through the collective wisdom of those coffee conversations that I develop many of my thoughts about life. I learned a long time ago from my Uncle Bob that “there is wisdom in a multitude of counsel” and even more so when the counsel comes from people of varying ages and multicultural backgrounds.

I agree with President Obama, many of the old people have indeed become boring. It’s too bad, at a time in history when so many people are searching for answers, older people have too often retreated to their living rooms to zone out in front of the television or computer, instead of connecting with younger people in positive ways.

The Internet has afforded many older people a new way of connecting with youth; through blogs and social networks, it allows us to connect and communicate and be bridging the gaps that separate us. However, the Internet limits us to an electronic connection; it can never replace the real life experience of sitting across from each other at coffee or tea.

There is a dynamic that is entirely lost when older people do not sit across the table from younger people in real life. The Internet, while good in many ways, is insufficient in many others.

Coffee & Conversation. It sounds like a simple sentence, but it encompasses so much of what I stand for; connecting, communicating, dialogue, mentoring, and caring. Too often we easily become disconnected from each other and forget what makes us human.

Writing a status update or posting our thoughts on a blog is the easy part. The difficult task lies in going beyond our computers and reaching across the aisle, its about daring to start a conversation with someone about difficult subjects, and demonstrating love at the expense of our pride or personal hangups.

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,

Kenneth

ON tonights show join us as we talk to Kruti Mehta from India who discusses the hurdles women still face in Eastern Culture.



Categories: Culture & Society

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17 replies

  1. I think respecting elders is still important, calling them boring doesn’t seem too respectful 😦

  2. Our world has changed in a big way. In the past, older people were always outside the house who are having conversation with their neighbors. Now, they are inside the house, surfing the net or watching their favorite TV series. Youth and old people are so alike now… disengaged to real physical people. Well, we cannot blame them, the neighborhood now is too dangerous to walk in. Which will bring us to discussing the government and how they are responding to the criminality. I mean this is all connected. The bottomline will be: this world has changed dramatically.

    Thank you for the thought-provoking entry. 🙂

  3. A nice thing about the Internet is that words are fairly age invisible, and you can sneak an ‘old’ idea in before it’s been vetted.

  4. It’s good to know you’re still sipping that coffee and keeping the thoughts flowing. People say we need history to prevent ourselves from making the same mistakes over and over again. How come those who know history make the same mistake over and over again? It’s not just knowing our history, we actually have to do something with that knowledge. But that’s just a thought I had sipping my tea.
    Keep on blogging in a free world and keep on sipping that coffee.
    – The False Prophet

  5. Maybe we should start penalising politicians who don’t fulfill on their electoral promises. Performance related pay maybe. I think in most places a politician retires with a very good pension no matter how long they serve. That pension should only be paid if they’ve kept their promises or at a reduced rate if not.
    I had one answer a question recently that he would vote a certain way because he believed that politicians who don’t perform well should be able to be sacked by the voters.He made a big point of telling me what he believed yet when it came to the vote, he went the other way.He should be out based on his own beliefs.

  6. As I’m sipping my coffee as we speak @ Wild Flower restaurant I’m surrounded with old people and its amazing how happy and excited they look. I want get old with happy stories to share, not boring person with no one to care. 🙂 Thx to Internet we can share our thoughts and predictions.
    Good coffee by the way 😆

  7. My kids appreciate older people. We have a deficit of extended family as so many died young. I like that they have learned a balance. So much we gain from one another. I would never say such nonsense to them. They would miss out!

  8. I love that mooning us their naked but part keep up the good work

  9. Did anyone actually listen to the President’s speech? He was not talking to “OLD PEOPLE” in general, he was referring to a group of Mullah’s (sorry if that isn’t the right word) or Arab-American leaders in the audience. He was talking about controlling terrorism, and pointing out that the old style religious beliefs and rules are no longer as effective with young people.

    If there is any sense of decent journalism here, this should be corrected.

    The Hysterical Historian

  10. I’m in my mid-60’s. There are some real stick-in-the-mud people in my age group. And some of the younger age groups as well.

    I sometimes remind my peers that we’ve been railing about those pesky younger folks since there are records of commentary. That said, I’ve been called many things, many of them unprintable, but never boring. 😀

    As a deaf introvert I’m not out sitting at coffee houses. I do my conversations in less loud and obnoxious places. I’m rarely too busy (although there are moments) to take the time to listen to someone and share (if asked) my thoughts.

    As to leaders, they really are so limited in what they can achieve. We fail to recognize that you cannot turn a battleship on a dime. That’s what a ship of state is.

  11. The problem facing society with age is that the definition of ‘old age’ is getting older.
    With modern medicine and health more people are living longer than ever before, so where 60 was once old, now 80 is. However society has not evolved at the same speed in knowing how to care or include this new age group into society, so they are often marginalized, left out of society and left alone.
    Loneness is the number one issue for the elderly, and now at least technology is allowing them to reconnect and have a voice again.

  12. Thanks for the post, Kenneth. It’s so true. One of the problems in today’s youth is a disregard for their elders. One of the most influential people in my life is a Korean War vet. The guy has been through a lot and he knows what it means to make mistakes and to make the right decisions. I love the guy to death and he has taught me some of the most valuable lessons in my life. When we disregard what our elders say, we are doomed but not to repeat the same mistakes. We are doomed to decline. You can’t build upward without acknowledging the foundation. If the foundation is ignored, the entire structure will crumble.

  13. So, God, who created the Universe, then, the eldest being in the world, should be forgotten, too?

    🙂

    It seems it has already happened…

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