By Beth Pinyerd
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1.
I am so thankful for the medical excellence we have in the Opelika/Auburn community. A few months ago, I began to notice that I simply could not see, even with my glasses on. I would go back and forth from my bifocals to store-bought reading glasses as I read books to preschool classes. My doctor team quickly caught that the bifocals’ strength that I have had for the past three years was not meeting my vision needs at all. Last week when I received my new pair of glasses, it was the very best gift I could receive. I can see the world clearly. As an aging Baby Boomer, I am so thankful for each day of life. One intergenerational truth that the young and old agree on is that each day is a gift from God.
As Baby Boomers embark on how to plan and live our elderly years well, we can turn to those who have walked the road ahead of us. There are fundamental differences that exist between age groups. For the purpose of this column, I am so very thankful for the many opportunities I have had being around senior citizens as friends, as well as in “sit and chat” interactions. This year we have had to social distance, Zoom, Facebook and even video chat but I have come up with truths of wisdom. I want to share some of the truths I learned with my readers from “The Greatest Generation” and “The Silent Generation.”
Those who were born between 1901-1925 are termed “The Greatest Generation.” The elderly population in this generation grew up during the Great Depression. Too, many of them were active in-service during World War II. My senior friends explained to me that these two historical events built perseverance and courage when facing adversity and difficult times. This generation has frugal spending habits from living through the depression. They believe in hard work, in order to better themselves. This generation expresses traditional values in patriotism, loyalty and way of life. Generally, members of “The Greatest Generation” are very private and don’t share a lot of their inner thoughts. With this generation, their word is their bond.
Those born between 1926-1945 are called “The Silent Generation.” They are known as the Post War Generation. Most veterans in the “Silent Generation” served in the Korean War. The members of this generation are hardworking, loyal and logical. Like the “Greatest Generation” they have a traditional outlook and sense of right and wrong.
We Baby Boomers born between 1946-1964, experienced the civil rights movement and witnessed and served in the Vietnam War. Too, the Baby Boomer generation are very open-minded to social values. We are independent, competitive and we value individuality.
As Baby Boomers glean from the older generation, we don’t have to necessarily agree with the values of the different generations, but we can try and strive to understand the mind sets of these generations in meeting the challenges of the world as they see them based on their experiences.
Below are some characteristics this writer has observed in the daily lives of seniors and recommendations from “The Greatest Generation” and “The Silent Generation” to we Baby Boomers in meeting the challenges of today’s world.
Realize you never quit learning, no matter how old you are. Enrich every area of your lives physically, mentally, spiritually and socially.
Be good stewards of the resources you have in planning the future. “It is not what you have, but it’s what you do with what you have.”
Stay on a daily schedule of desirable work and activities, even though you are now approaching those retirement years. This is where I want to plug in the value of volunteering in sharing our talents, gifts, skills and wisdom with others. The benefits of a sense of purpose and relationship are so gratifying. These are the things that money cannot buy. Helping others is one of those commodities. Too, as Baby Boomers, we are searching out ways to help us stay healthy. Volunteering can benefit us socially, mentally, physically and emotionally.
Keep your individuality but be willing to share your talents and gifts of service to others. “Care for your fellowman.” As community services begin to safely open back up again after the pandemic, search ways you can help on where you desire to help. It may be an educational setting, places of worship, local food banks, senior centers, animal shelters and more.
Thank you to the generations who have gone before us for the valuable wisdom you have modeled and passed down to us Baby Boomers as we in huge numbers embark on the doors of retirement and aging well. The experience and lives of the Greater Generation help we Baby Boomers to see the world clearly that in helping others, we are helping ourselves. It is truly a two-way relationship where we all benefit as a community.
Classroom Observer, Beth Pinyerd