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Listen to the older generation

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My key ingredient that I am trying to express is listening, not learning from our older generation.  Even though I am sure that we have lots to learn from them, I think we have really failed in our task of listening.  Their journey has been incredible, richer than ours, full and with experience, and it is in those stories that comes a listening ear.

My father-in-law and I could talk (I asked the open questions, he talked and I listened) for hours.  He joined the Italian army at 18 just about the time when Italy decided to turn its back on the Germans and join the Allied forces.  He was soon captured in Greece and sent to a prisoner of war camp in Germany.

There were things I wanted to know about that, there were things he needed to tell that he had never told before to anyone else.

Then after the war, he helped to rebuild Germany and was employed there, in construction, for four years.  Many more stories there, and they were all his to share, his experience, what he learned living away from home for 9 months of the year, relationships with your employers and the team you worked with, even how to handle temptation when it came to women through the long absences from home life.

I said it earlier, and I think we can sometimes get hung up on the “learning” from our older generation that we have stopped listening to them.  They have a history, a life story no matter how much older they are than us.  There have been some successes and some failures and if we learn from that great, but bask in the story – that’s where the rubber meets the road.

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2 thoughts on “Listen to the older generation

  1. This post reminded me of a talk I had long ago with my grandmother. I sat and listened… and listened as she described living through the Great Depression- selling apples for 5 cents, the food lines- and then, out of the blue, she talked about love and commitment. I thank God for that day I was open to listening to Annie. Thank you for your post and a chance to recall a very special moment! Peace, Chris

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