The mood was especially upbeat this morning at St. Arbucks as our group seemed to be in extra fine spirits, perhaps because of their favorite football teams are winning, or else the barista snuck in an extra shot of something in their lattes!
It became very supportive and positive because we focused on what “good things” are happening in, with, and for older adults rather than dwelling, as it’s easy to do, on what is not happening with our older generations. Here’s a recap of what you would have heard if you had joined us around the table:
- There is new energy growing in more congregations regarding older adults and how they can be served and serve others as well. This is because, in large part, because more professional church workers are taking this ministry more seriously. If your church staff has not raised the issue yet, encourage them, nicely, to do so.
- More books are being written by faith-based as well as secular publishers, primarily because the word has gotten out …there continues to be more and more of us around, and more to come as well! To mention a few:
“ Me a Mentor? A Call to Action in a Disconnected World”, by friend Ken Black, Outskirts Press, 2019. A very helpful first person account of Ken’s involvement and passion for this special ministry.
“Elders Rising – The Promise and Peril of Aging”, by friend Roland Martinson, Fortress Press, 2018. Encouraging communities to become “vital aging centers”
“An Age of Opportunity”, by friend Richard Gentzler, 2018; Intentional ministry by, with, and for older adults; Upper Room books, 2018
- There is more energy coming from older adults themselves, as they learn and listen and leap out in faith to make something happen for their age groups. The word is getting out!
- New models and approaches are springing up throughout the country, through local congregations, ALOA (Adult Lutherans Organized for Action), and other non-profit, faith-based groups. The St. Arbucks group is ready and raring to see this new energy and positive thinking.
- New networks of older adult leaders are emerging. Through Best Practices Conferences, judicatory /districts/synods events and training, and other faith-based groups, more people are catching on to realize that the older adult is the world’s largest natural resource!
- More people are being made more sensitive and aware of the powerful force “ageism” still is in our society. Clearly, a “climate change” is catching on as people of all ages are beginning to understand the needs, gifts, and absolute importance of older adults in our society.
- More older adults are evaluating how they themselves perceive their own aging…and are changing their views and attitudes. Here’s an activity for each of us: Make a list each day of words and attitudes you share with older adults. Are they more positive or negative? Do your words and phrases focus more on problems or on proclamation and possibilities? Are the terms you/us use more encouraging or discouraging? The other day I caught myself greeting an 82 year old person by saying, “Hi there, young fella!” . Another person said to me, “You are a young 79 year old!” Shame on us for continuing to have a mindset that still encourages people to feel that “young” is good and that “old” is bad!
The St. Arbucks group, as you can see, really got into some heavy stuff. We could tell the baristas were ready for us to leave, and as we did, one of them shouted, “Have a great day, you young fellas!”
Yes, we still have a long way to go!