One day our elders will be our ancestors. We’ve all experienced such loss. We witness as they pass on, knowing sadness to be part of love. And through this grief, we become elders ourselves.
My family’s elders, my own parents and in-laws, make me a better parent. My kids are lucky that both sets of grandparents live nearby. Tony and I can count on them to help watch the grandchildren. Then there are the great grandparents. Those who have passed we still honor. Some still live on this Earth and we treasure each visit.
Children grow to be well rounded with the contributions of elders. As parents, we offer inspiration and values which contribute to the happiness of our children, but elders become part of a greater story. They are the Earth of an extended family, of all our generations and history. Elders know a life of love that understands grief, loss and continuing on.
Elders not only allow for mom or dad to have a break, but they break the kids out of parental routines. Interestingly, through age and maturity, elders share a different perspective on life. Sharing multi-generational stories and skills fosters respect in our children. The world can be small when it’s simply us parents guiding the way.
Elders and all extended family let us know the Village is greater than ourselves. In weeding the garden with Grandma or baking bread with Grandpa, children learn community is not centered on them, but instead, they can grow-up to be truly helpful to their community. In turn, children root our elders, renewing patience and a youthful outlook for life.
Where do you find elders? It can be difficult in this world of the fissioning family. So desperate to be respected or find a connection to other generations, I’ve heard that people take “Elder Leadership Workshops and Initiations”. But is purchased status the answer? Instead, time, patience and great humor cultivates eldership. Even when not related by blood, we can seek out elders whose challenges and joys inspire us. It’s a mutual gift. Looking forward through children adds profound dimension to all our lives.
Not all elders have raised children. Yet how they interact with young people is telling. Great elders are masters of celebrating the simple moments. They appreciate cultivating the story of our shared lives. Elders hold a crucial piece in the puzzle of what is truly important to a family.
Adult and parenthood can mean being selfless, yet it can also be fraught with the hubris of modern life and fissured individualism. An extended family that includes our elders and our youngest generations can be cultivated into a fusion of love and revelry. A reunion to remind us to slow down and live the joys of every day.
Trackers Earth, Founder