Respecting your Elders
Last night, I had the distinct honor to speak with a retired LAPD officer named Leon Mann. Quite the raconteur, he held court for several hours, sharing stories and dishing out advice. The lessons he had to impart to me and my friends about personal safety were many -- hard earned from his years as a cop, I'm sure. Later on, I thought back to how effortlessly and thoroughly he relayed his advice, and came to the conclusion that not only were those words spoken from experience, they were also words spoken with a fair amount of wisdom behind them -- something that can really only come with time and age.
Which is not to say that young people don't possess wisdom -- some are described as "wise beyond their years," and even at the relatively young and naive age of 24, I can already look back on my short life and say "if only I knew a few years ago what I know now -- what a difference that would have made." But I believe that only that roughhewn wisdom, that unshakable confidence and stance in life can only come simply through having truly lived. Through the mistakes, the heartaches, the low times -- those times that inspire the greatest amounts of reflection and soul-searching.
I would much rather be led by an old man who possesses dignity and wisdom than a young brash man (or woman) who simply knows how to say the right thing to come off well.
Unfortunately, I have very few people of this age in my life, save my parents (though, they're quite wise as well). If you're one lucky enough to have such great influences in your life, take advantage of them, respect them, cherish them. I hope when I'm that age (Lord willing), I'll be looked upon the same way.