rebelling against low expectations

3 Reasons Teenagers Need Senior Citizen Friends

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“Do you want to go to a ladies’ brunch at my church tomorrow morning?”

It was ten o’clock at night when Abby’s text came, and I deliberated. I had an insane to-do list for tomorrow. But I was trying to be intentional about reaching out and making friends, so I said yes.

That morning, we arrived at her church and Maria met us at the door. Maria had some of the deepest laughter wrinkles I’d ever seen and was wearing a dress that made you feel like you were looking through a kaleidoscope.

Looking around, I realized that Abby and I were the only ones under sixty in the room full of women. They adopted me as one of their own right away, and before I knew it, I had a crowd of them gathered around me, showing me scrapbooks from ten years ago of people I didn’t know.

And you know what? It was awesome.

I think every teenager needs a group of elderly people in their life. Too often, we limit our friends to those who are within five years of our own age. But when we do that, we miss out on so much. Today, let’s talk about three reasons why we as teenagers should seek out senior citizen friends.

1. You Learn So Much

If only we would take the time to listen! You don’t have to take a class or join an elderly ladies’ Bible study to learn from those older than you. The best way to learn is to simply listen. Chop vegetables and listen to their stories. Listen to what it is they repeat.

Job 12:12 says, “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.”

When we spend time with the “aged” we are exposed to wisdom that so many of our own age don’t have. We learn things that books and the internet don’t teach us. We learn patience, grace, joy, hope, and how to properly fold a towel (in thirds) or butcher a rotisserie chicken.

One time I met a man who was one-hundred-and-one. And after his entire, full life, he repeated just one thing all weekend. That one piece of advice he was passionate about has stuck with me a decade later. “Listen to the whispers of Jesus.”

If anyone else had said it, I’m not sure it would have had the same impact. But knowing that this was the biggest thing he had to share after over a hundred years on earth — that struck me. We have so much to learn, if only we will humble ourselves and listen.

2. You are Given an Opportunity to Serve Others and Glorify God

“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Peter 5:5).

The beauty of having different perspectives and experiences between generations can also come with some difficulties. As teenagers, we like to live life going from one thing to another, racing to keep up with everything. We have our tastes in music, style, entertainment, activities, etc. And those things tend to vary greatly between generations. Spending time with people outside our usual age range gives us the opportunity to step outside our comfort zone and humbly submit to someone else’s preferences and needs, glorifying God in the process. Click To Tweet

3. Together, We Can Accomplish More

Proverbs 20:29 says that “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” We each have different strengths and weaknesses. As teenagers, we can tend to have more energy and often more physical ability. We are young and passionate.

Elderly people have experience and wisdom. They’ve learned through trial and error and have often seen more of the world than we have.

Together, combining our strength and wisdom, we can do some pretty amazing things. Just imagine!

Y’all, elderly people are so much fun. I recently told a seventy-year-old friend of mine that she is more fun than many of the people my age that I know. She’s not afraid to have adventures and make a fool of herself and make friends with anyone who happens to stand next to her.

I want to be more like her.

Today, think of any senior citizens in your life that you could intentionally connect with. What is a way you can serve them? How can you invite their input and wisdom into your life?

Come back tomorrow for 5 Practical Ways to Serve the Elderly In Your Life from Sarah Rhomberg!


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About the author

Sara Willoughby

is the 18-year-old author of He's Making Diamonds: A Teen's Thoughts on Faith Through Chronic Illness. She loves to read, write, and have adventures, be it off to Narnia one more time, wading through mud chasing the family dog, or playing a new board game with her two younger siblings. Sara is also a Lymie, TCK, and Bright Lights leader. You can find her at sgwilloughby.com

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rebelling against low expectations

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