Sunday, September 27, 2009

Young Folks at Times Need Old Folks

I noticed as I walked by the pile was not very high. She had been working for a couple of hours, I reasoned the pile should have been 4 or 5 times higher by this point. On my way back I stopped to have a few words with the young lady? "How are you doing Angie?"
"I’m okay."
She was not okay. The slumped shoulders, dull drooping eyes, the slow movement, reminded me of a working sleeper. Pulling up a chair I began working opposite her at the table. As we talked, I watched her with interest and within a few minutes her speed had surpassed mine. She told me of the university she hoped to attend next fall, the classes she wanted to take first. As she talked her eyes began to flash and that great Angie smile began to emerge. The voice went from boredom to full of energy. We worked together for 15 – 20 minutes before I left and went back to my office.
Sitting at my desk I let my mind fade back to my youth where an old man taught me how an old guy can work alongside a struggling young person and give him back his hope. A landscape of debris stretched out around me. It was a mountain sized clean up job; a near finished apartment complex of several hundred units and it was my job to pick up every scrap of wood and paper. The sun had long past beaten the hope out of me and I like Angie was slogging along slowly at the never ending task. The boss, a man in his seventies saw my grubbing along and began to work alongside me asking me questions, telling me about his pet peeve lumber waste. Holding up a 12 inch piece of siding – see this? 15 cents and it is worthless except for the scrape pile. We worked together for an hour and the progress was significant. He then left me to work on my own. Now and then he came back and would work alongside of me for a few minutes. He never once shamed me for being lazy but only praised me when he saw improvement.
As I checked on Angie during the day her speed would now and then drop and once again we would work together. The second day I only needed to sit with her once. By the third day she no longer needed this old guy, she now knew how to work at a high level of production without losing her hope.
Young people sometimes need older folks to help them change their perspective.
I am grateful for the old man. He could of brow beat me but he had the wisdom to know I had been doing plenty of my own personal brow beating. He knew what I needed and he gave it to me. Maybe you will someday find a young person who needs a little hope. Your example will be much more powerful than your words. Stop, help him/her out, work alongside and watch them change – it’s pretty exciting.

22 comments:

Ashley said...

You are very wise.
We all receive kindness in some form or the other. But how many of us are able to appreciate it, carry its warmth within us and then pass it on when the time comes?
Kudos...

betty said...

A very wise post. I have noticed that when someone else works with me (not necessarily an older person), the job isn't as boring. But, I think, with an older person helping, I could have also learned something.

Dianne said...

absolutely wonderful! and so true

Sylvia K said...

You are wise indeed! And I have seen this happen again and again. I love it when I'm able to do that for some young person. I work with a Jump Start class for pre-school kids and it is amazing even at that age how a little attention, a little extra kindness makes a huge difference in their not only being able to learn, but have fun doing it. I have worked as a teacher with kids from pre-school to high school and the same thing applies, but it's not limited to schooling, it has the same effect in the work environment as you have shown.

Great post! Always enjoy my visits, here and appreciate your visits to mine!

Have a great week!

Sylvia

Bill S. said...

Oh, how right you are. It is amazing how important old people are. This morning during a meeting I jotted down a quote. "Knowledge becomes wisdom through experience."

Thanks.

Debra said...

And isn't it amazing how we remember those small acts of kindness when we needed a helping hand, even years later.

Great post as always, hope you have a great Monday GQ!

Grayquill said...

Ashley: Thank for stopping by! – Thank you for your kind words. Wise, Ha Ha – spend five minutes with my kids. I am sure they will have different opinion.
I hope to see you again.

Betty: So true… you say you could have learned something – maybe it’s not too late. There is always your old neighbor peering at you through her blinds. Surely she knows a ton of stuff :) Sorry it is getting past my bedtime I am not responsible for some comments.

Dianne: Thank you! I hope today was a good day for you.

Sylvia: I am glad you are there making a difference! Thank you!

Bill S.: Knowledge becomes wisdom through experience – I like that! Thanks for passing it on.

Debra: Maybe those small acts are bigger to the receiver. Thanks for stopping by – Back at you have a great Monday!

Michele said...

You always inspire me to try to become a better person through your writing. You have a wonderful gift and thank you so much for sharing! I feel better now than I did when I arrived here, thank you for that!
~Michele

Anita :) said...

Every one needs help, support and more importantly, company. I know why you mentioned 'younger folks' here. Because, wisdom and experience comes only with age, and younger folks needs all those which can enhance their confidence levels. But how many seek advice and how many follow them is the big question.

Pat said...

Very true. When I worked, my boss was younger then my youngest child, that was an adjustment for me! But..we became fast friends, and received and accepted much wisdom from each other. Keep your heart open to recieve..you'll never regret it.

Free Falling said...

A touching post :)
makes me feel important ;)
I might be already helping someone younger than me without having realized about it up until now..

Lynda G. said...

Inspiring and a great reminder to us all. :D

Grayquill said...

Michele: Wow – what a compliment! Thank you. I think you look at things from the sunny side instead from the shadowed side – that is where the gift lies – but your kind words feel soooo good. Thanks

Anita: Your last sentence – that is a choice wouldn’t you say? And a person with a learning spirit I think will continue to grow. Great comment!

Pat: Great illustration and excellent advice. Thanks! But seriously didn’t you some days just want to smack him/her upside the head?

Free Falling: You just made my day! – Thanks for sharing. If you are giving of yourself into the life of another person – you are important.

Lynda G: Thanks for stopping by – Thanks for the encouraging words.

As the Mind Meanders said...

Thank you for this Greyquill... I did need this today... You have no idea how inspiring this is for me...

Thank you again

Grayquill said...

Mr. Mind Meander: Thank you, that's about as good as it gets.

The Survivor said...

Truly agree!!

Sometimes the elder ones would have the right vision and perspective that is not viewed by the younger generation.

Do read this when you have the time

http://lifeunwinded.blogspot.com/2009/05/old-man.html

Grayquill said...

The Survivor: I read your post - pretty good. I liked it. Experience

Karthik said...

Totally agree with you. My dad is sometimes more active than I. It makes me feel guilty and I start working hard. (Then I see him smile from the corner of my eye) :)
It was a wonderful post. :)

Grayquill said...

Karthik: Where did you come from I wondered? I decided to go take a look see. I see you are one of those master Indian writers. I decided to see what this Karthik writer might have to say? I only read a bit but found it to be way too interesting. So, I jumped back here to finish this reply and off I am going to ready interesting Karthik.
Oh BTW – your dad is smarter than he is supposed to be – I think he is a keeper.
Thanks for stopping by. Gotta go…

blunt edges said...

a wise n intelligent post!

Grayquill said...

Mr.Blunt: Why, Thank you are you being nice tonight. I mean this morning.

Emmanuel said...

:) Great post and you are absolutely right. :)