By Tara Gouldey
The passing of time is like the ocean. The inhabitants of the world move forward, then backward and forward again in knowledge as their footprints match the crooked rush of waves that desire to once again touch the shore.
Every generation believes that they are the first to leave the sand and experience what lies beyond the familiarity of the shells and pebbles that lie beneath their feet. Forgotten are the words of ancestors who strung together their wisdom with failures and brilliance, tears and rough hands.
It is pivotal to understand that we should pay attention to the words of previous generations.
In our society specifically, age is viewed as a negative attribute, rather than an opportunity for others to admire or show respect to someone older than them.
It is a shame because when we are young, we view the world as our own. We forget that before we were even thought of, our parents, grandparents and great grandparents lived just like us. They were children, who spelled out letters in the sandbox and then destroyed them with metal toy trucks.
Then, as adolescents, they smiled at their first loves in the summertime. As young adults, they balanced two jobs and struggled to be the anchors for their family in times of crisis. Finally, beaming down at our little faces, they hoped we would learn enough from them while growing to struggle less than they did. Despite the knowledge our families gained, we refuse to absorb it; we shout against their words, saying “you don’t understand!” We do not realize that years before, they shouted furiously at their own parents.
Each life is a square of fabric stacked on top of another in a pile. We move upward because we supported the previous pieces but become disabled from our inability to harness the legacy of knowledge that is sewn into the family tree below.
In the future, our eyes will become theirs, and their words will be our own. The cloudy look that crosses over the eyes that mirror our own represents the untold wisdom that accumulates beneath the surface. Their hands bear scars that give pathways to their experiences and hold truth within the skin. We are all products of their past environments. Without careful consideration of their guidance, we are limiting ourselves to a barren landscape.
We should make the time to have conversations with those of the older generations. Before we blink, they will be long gone, and their wisdom lost with the tide, unless we take the initiative and gain the knowledge that they have to offer. With each wave, a previous set of footsteps is erased. New sand is brought forth to create a landscape all our own. With previous knowledge passed down, we will have the ability to unveil the beauty in the world with our eyes. As a society, we can create our own castles to admire before they are destroyed by the next generation.