A few days ago I did sound for a funeral at the church. I didn’t know the lady who had died or any of the family at all, so it was an interesting experience to sit back and observe in a way. I’ve come out of it thinking one thing in particular.
I hope there are a lot of young people at my funeral.
Often, funeral are full of older people… which makes perfect sense for when an elderly person dies. I’m not proposing that I wish to die young – quite the contrary: I hope I continue to have an influence to the generation(s) below me as I get older. Often funerals have younger members of the family who say some words, and I think that’s very telling in a way. Wisdom isn’t best passed on to peers, it’s best passed on to those younger than you, and families are the first place that this happens.
I hope I can continue to reach beyond the reaches of my family though. I don’t want to force myself upon people, but I want to pass on the things I’ve learned and help those who come after me to learn from my mistakes. With that, I hope to keep developing an attitude that allows me to learn from those older than me while I still have the chance. It’s hard to break that age barrier, it’s almost always easy and more comfortable to try to learn from people who are my age and think like me, or if nothing else just simply by reading something – but I think I can learn more by having a face to face conversation with someone and having to deal with the lack of refinement that a conversation has.
I wish more older people around me would step out and mentor people like me. Almost every mentoring relationship I’ve tried has been initiated by me and seemed to quickly fade. I don’t think the initiation by the younger person is always bad, but when being the one who wants to learn from someone else’s experiences and wisdom, it’s a nice first step if they’ll take the first step.
I’ve heard this sentiment repeated by more and more young adults around me and I hope as we grow older we can remember this feeling, and because of it intentionally build relationships with younger people. Who knows how long until my funeral – I guess it’s never too early to start!