Picking the fruit

Here’s an experiment that could teach us something important. As you hear others speak, particularly people of influence, whether in person or on television, radio, on social media, in houses of worship, take note of their ages. Give it an educated guess if you’re not sure. Place it in a probable decade. Try this for about a week. Then reflect on what you’ve noticed.

How many were four years old or younger?  How many in their 80s or older?

We criticize social media, for good reasons, but if we are selective, we can learn from what we see there. This morning, for example, two posts caught my attention in my brief visit to one site.

The first simply stated that workers under 35 derive wisdom from older fellow workers. Of course they do. For this to happen, though, we need to listen to one another. Respect the speaker, learn from his or her experience. As a university faculty member, I was fond of suggesting to students that they regard the university as an orchard, full of ripe fruit. It is a place populated by people with tons of knowledge and experience. When you find yourself in such an orchard, pick the fruit.

The second post came from a teacher whose years of experience enriched her with plenty of knowledge about children. When relating about their Christmases, these little ones tended to focus on experiences with their parents or other older loved ones, who read stories to them, played with them, snuggled with them, took them places, listened to them. The children rarely talked about the toys they received. What does this tell us?

Children tend to be honest when expressing their views. So do older people, and they offer many decades of life experience.

We learn much and derive wisdom from places we might not expect, if we look for it, and listen.

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