Are you Looking Forward to Being Old and Frail?

So I’ve got a question for you. Are you looking forward to when you’re old and frail, are you thinking about yourself in your 70s and 80s and thinking, “Wow, that’s going to be such a amazing time in life.” Now, a lot of people in ancient cultures actually did this and the people don’t do this today. We worship youth, you guys, we love all of the trappings of youth. We’re not super into wisdom. We’re super into a lot of other things, a lot of much more superficial values, but I want to kind of challenge you guys. Maybe you should be really looking forward to being old and frail. Why would somebody look forward to that season in their life? Okay. The reason, you guys, is that family teams in the past, when men got into their 70s, 80s, 90s, they lived an amazing quality of life.

Physically things were slowing down. There’s a lot of pain during this season, but during that season, they were being surrounded and honored by their multigenerational family, constantly involved in asking questions, but they didn’t have any more, anything else to win. They didn’t have another battle to fight. All of those things have been passed down to the next generation and they got to watch and they got to participate as elders giving wisdom, and then all along the way they were cared for well. They were provided for well. And they got to sort of see that bird’s eye view. They saw and remembered and reflecting on all the amazing experiences they had throughout their lives. And they were being surrounded by their children, their grandchildren, and their great grandchildren. And it’s a really beautiful thing to think about. Being in a situation where, because you’re physically limited, you’re no longer able to take on those big, giant challenges.

And so you can gracefully release all of that responsibility and say, “Hey, my day is up and now I get to pass on the baton to you and cheer you on and be on the sidelines and really love my family as it expands into the future.” And it’s interesting. I love hearing stories about this season of life, where it is a beautiful thing. And there was a story that I heard. I was in a camp and met one of our students. I was talking to him on a one-on-one. He was, I think, a 16 year old. And I said, “What was your favorite thing about this last year?” And he said, “My favorite thing was hanging out with my 90 year old grandpa.” And this kid was a Indian from India. His family had immigrated here and I was like, “Whoa, tell me all about that.”

And he said, “Oh, he’s so amazing. And I love …” They didn’t even speak the same language, but he spent a lot of time with his grandpa. And he said, “My grandpa stayed with me for about three months this year. And it was just honestly, my favorite thing they got to do.” Well, we had a big banquet and I got to finally meet this boy’s parents. And I like, I stopped them, and I’m like, “Hey, you’ve got to tell me about this. Your dad,” I was talking to his father and “tell me, like, he lives with you guys. What’s going on there?” And he said, “Oh, my father he’s over 90 years old. He has five sons, all of us immigrated to America. And so his wife died 10 years ago. And so he’s been living for three months with each of his sons across the America.”

And so he was moving in with each son-

That’s awesome.

And as he was moving from house to house and he said, “My father loves his life. And I can’t wait to be that old. And I want my children to see how this is how I want to live when I’m 80, when I’m 90.” And so, and so he could not … His face just lit up and this you’d never see this in America, right? The line you hear in America is from older people from younger people. But especially from that older generations, I don’t want to be a burden to my children. Just put me in an old folks home. It’s like the worst narrative ever. And here you have a culture where every generation is looking forward to being in their 80s and 90s, they really see that as a beautiful season, they love the opportunity to host.

It’s almost like these five brothers were fighting for the father to live with them in their house. Right. But the father had to like, like to basically rationed himself in his 90s, across his five sons and their amazing families. And I was just like, “Man, this is so beautiful.” And so I want to encourage you guys. One of the things that you get, if you really lean into building a multigenerational team on mission is you have the opportunity to have an amazing time in your 70s and your 80s and your 90s. We’re going to live a lot longer guys, whether we like it or not. Medical technology is getting better. Lifespans are increasing every single year for those who have obviously the money to afford medical care. But man, it’s crazy. The chance that you have of living to 90 is so much higher than in any generation in the past.

And so you’re going to … It’s really important you build the infrastructure for having an incredible experience, you and your wife, when you’re in your old age and you really pass into that frail season of your life. So anyway, we don’t talk about this or think about this in our culture very much, but I think it’s really important. Jeff, what does that stir for you?

Yeah, I have nothing more to add because I think that was perfect. I’ll just say, I was reading on Instagram yesterday and there was this interesting story of some guy just kind of giving a food for thought. And he was saying exactly what you just said. He’s like, do you realize the young people today, probably by the time they reach 60, that’s like their halftime. That’s very, very feasible that that’s their halftime, not their end. And that’s crazy.

Right. So then we really need to set up ourselves for success. So because we might even have so many more years with technology and medicine and just our quality of life, which is just booming, right and crazy over the last 100 years, compared to the rest of history that you, that’s even more time to take advantage of for this or more time to kind of be in the American paradigm, which is wallowing or don’t want to be a burden or all these different things. So it’s like, it’s going to be more one way or the other. So let’s make it more for the good of what you were talking about.

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