My wife and I squirm when we see our birthdates, or at least mine, being included with the Baby Boom generation, as our lives and memories more closely reflect those of our counterparts in Generation X. While we both could join AARP, only I get the discount at IHOP, so perhaps I should lose my age hang up and just enjoy the pancakes….
But enough about me. What we know for certain is that Boomers are turning 65 at the astonishing rate of 10,000 per day in the United States, meaning that many will take a vast array of knowledge and work experiences with them at retirement, holding court only among their peers at the golf course and in the aquatic therapy pool.
But wait! Those of us who aren’t “real” Boomers nevertheless hear echoes of Pete Seeger’s lyrics when he asked rhetorically “Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?” Our question is, “Where have all the mentors gone, long time ago?”
Mentoring. It is what took place in my life when I attended former SRC Board Member Dr. Dennis Domer’s sessions on Boomer Futures. This was a time to reflect on being prepared for a coming wave of seniors who have completely different expectations from later life than their predecessors in the Greatest Generation had.
Oh, some mentors remain. Hank Booth or Marvel Williamson are quick to lend advice to me if I ask. The trouble is, since I’ve cultivated advice for around 35 years from my elders, the things they share now are often not filled with revelation, but serve more as reminders, as in “we’ve covered this previously Scott, and the answers haven’t changed.” Ah yes, that selective hearing thing again where I only remember what I choose to hear.
Those of us still in the workforce have foot-high stacks on our desks giving us tips on reaching millennials, and certainly now that my youngest is 30, he actually asks the old man for advice…occasionally. But seriously, those of us still toiling need and want to hear from seniors.
If you possess these decades of wisdom, I understand that it is intimidating to seek someone to share with. But trust me, if you strike up a relationship with us, we will learn to listen and we will grow. We may respond slowly like we do to Novocain but if you give us time your advice will have an effect.
So dear readers, please strike up a friendship with someone in my generation. Don’t share with us because you feel guilty, heck, do it for your own pleasure! There is nothing that gets the adrenaline flowing like watching a younger person do well under your tutelage.
Seeger asked “Oh, when will they ever learn?” Simple, when you find those of who are teachable and teach us.
Be a friend, make a memory, and push someone to greater heights. You’ll enjoy the ride!