Example of a older-younger connection in family

Some time back, Greg Taylor wrote a blog post that has really moved me.  Greg touched on one thing that I believe needs a little more emphasis.  Greg said, "My father-in-law is a wise man and has given me advice many times. There is mutual respect and love between us. I am very blessed to have both a father and father-in-law who have gently urged me to make changes in my life, rather than coming down hard. Moses got some very important advice as a son-in-law that came in this gentle manner of the father-in-law's urging." 

I want to emphasize the phrase Greg used: "there was mutual respect and love between us."  The special bond Greg has with his father-in-law  was only possible because both of them spent the time to build a close relationship built on openness and trust.  It is my belief that it was the elements of time and trust that allowed the respect and love to flourish.  While he still blesses your life, I am certain you still bless his life as well.

My name is John Dickmann and I am 70.  In the spirit of the kind of mentorship of older and younger people, as mentioned in Greg’s blog about his father-in-law, this blog is meant to encourage young and old. I promise to share a blessing I received on Sunday, March 12, 11:07 A.M at St. John’s Hospital, Tulsa, OK 10th floor.  My comment is written in two parts. The first part is written to young people second part to older folks.

Younger Folks

My prayer for you is that you will slow your fast moving life pace down so you are able to build those relationships built on openness and trust that Greg Taylor wrote about.  During my 70 year life journey, God has blessed me with many special relationships (mentors) where I received advice that was given in a gentle manner.   I could have missed those blessings had I not been willing to slow down and make the time to receive them.  There are many wise people who enjoy sharing their wisdom and are not offended if you don’t rapidly accept their advice.  They will never tire of listening, encouraging, hanging in there with you and loving you.  Once, I counted the people who made this commitment and I was amazed at the number when I finished my list.  The list included over 40 people.  

A Blessing from a dying man

I want to share a blessing I received from a dying man a blessing I almost did not get.  My next door neighbor Jim--who was hospitalized--called one Saturday morning totally confused.  From his voice I could tell he was anxious, confused and fearful.  I was in the middle of a house painting project and almost didn’t go.  I went and spent the weekend with him.  During that time I told him I was going to be like a bad penny and keep coming back until he came home.  

Jim looked me straight in the eye and said, “I don’t think there is any bad in you.” 

People had been telling me for 69 years I am good person but I didn’t believe it   I can still see him lying there—life slowly leaving his earthly body.  That day I heard Jim’s message and for the first time in my life believed I was a good person.  I had two choices to make the day of Jim’s frantic call.  One choice was to stay home the other was to go.  If I had stayed home I would have never received a dying man’s blessing. 

I truly believe  God knew that I would believe and feel in my heart what Jim had to say—so Jim was the mouth of God delivering a message I needed to hear one more time—but God new I would not only hear it but BELIEVE it.  I don’t have the words to adequately express the peace, joy and comfort I have today. 

Jim’s words from God freed me!  What a GIFT!  Jim, thank you—I will be a better person because of your heart felt gentle words.  Thank you dear friend—I miss you!

Prayer for younger people today

My prayer for you is that when the Lord puts those special people in your life that you will make time for them and that as you look back on your life you will be able to see how those blessings changed your life.  I pray you will open your arms and say YES LORD!  Amen.

Seven ways older folks can connect with younger people

Since I am in this category, I feel qualified to write about us.  I believe that Exodus 18 teaches that those of us in our generation have a responsibility to pass on the wisdom we gained by walking a longer path of life.  However, I think before we can pass on our wisdom we must first take time to build a relationship.  My experience has taught me seven things. 

  • First, as we develop this relationship, questions automatically come. 

  • Second, they want us to show an interest in them—asking them questions etc.

  • Third, people who trust us want us to share the joys of our journey but also they want to hear the pitfalls. 

  • Fourth, just because the listener may not immediately change course DOES NOT mean they aren’t listening. 

  • Fifth, don’t become discouraged—loved them anyway.

  • Sixth, we may have to initiate these times together. 

  • Seventh, ask them how you can pray for them—then pray for them.

My experience has taught me as I invest in others humbly spreading mercy, kindness, gentleness and patience, the Lord blesses me with joy and peace.  Is there a better investment of our time?  I don’t think so! 

Prayer for older people today

I pray that our unselfish gift of time gives our ever present Lord opportunities to bless them.  Amen!


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John Dickmann is one of the shepherds of The Journey. John is a retired educator and spends his time mentoring and loving many people, traveling with his beloved wife, Donna, and woodworking in his shop with and for friends and family.

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