From Silver Can Come Gold

By Bill Hodges

©2000 Hodges Seminars International

I love to hear the stories that older people tell of how the world was when they were young. My great grandfather, a Shawnee, would spin fascinating stories of the proud days when his people walked freely throughout the land. Lakes teemed with fish then and game was plentiful. There was a World War I veteran who talked of the "war to end all wars" and the VA patient who described what it was like to be at the Battle of the Bulge. Once I met a man who was present when the original rockets were designed by the scientists of the Third Reich. With his shaking hand, he sketched drawings of the early designs. His speech was slow, but he described events more vividly than I would have gotten from any history book.

Making the elderly a part of your life can, at times, be a tedious process, but it is an ever so profitable investment of your time. Mary Walker gives us some thoughts to keep in mind when we choose to make older people a part of our life in this wonderful poem entitled

"Beatitudes for Friends

of the Aged."

Blessed are they who understand

My faltering step and palsied hand.

Blessed are they who know that

My ears today must strain to hear the things they say.

Blessed are they who seem to know

That my eyes are dim and wits are slow.

Blessed are they who look away

When coffee spilled at the table today.

Blessed are they with a cheery smile

Who stop to chat for a little while.

Blessed are they who never say

"Youíve told that story twice today."

Blessed are they who know the ways

To bring back memories of yesterday.

Blessed are they who make it known

That Iím loved, respected, and not alone.

Blessed are they who know Iím at a loss

To find the strength to carry the cross.

Blessed are they who ease the day

On my journey Home in loving ways.

We are allowing so much first-person history to become unnecessarily lost. With an inexpensive tape recorder, the memories of a lifetime can be captured for the enlightenment of generations to come. It just takes patience. I wish now I had a tape of my great grandfatherís stories because, in the mists of my memory, they are beginning to fade. Would that I had kept those scraps of paper on which the scientist drew but, alas, I recognized their value too late. But today is a new day and I now know that where there is silver hair, there is most likely a gold mine of information. With patience and love, it can be mine.

Bill Hodges is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, and syndicated columnist. Hodges may be reached at Hodges Seminars International, P.O. Box 89033, Tampa, FL 33689-0400. Phone 813/641-0816.

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