9.09.2006

elderly people shouldn't be left behind

I work for a church in Sandpoint, Idaho and my responsibilities include music production and general sound quality. In the process of working with an audio engineer to design and build some panels that will help to clean up the aural qualities of the room, I've become painfully aware of the fact that I am extremely guilty of marginalizing people of a certain age. It's not confined to elderly people and it's not entirely an age issue, however, the issue is largely split along age lines. I, along with my contemporaries, want to define our stylistic preferences along other-than-age lines in order to avoid creating division, but the more I think about it, the more it seems like some sort of fancy window dressing. The problem is that the preferences that we're fighting for have been chosen for a very specific purpose, which believe in very strongly and feel even a moral obligatin to fulfill.

Moreover, we have made a point to not bend toward the desires of older people because in the church arena, older people have a well-deserved reputation of steering a church in their desired direction, ultimately to the detriment of it. They se any means to get their way, the most persuasive of which usually ends up being their financial backing. Church leadership caves to the pressure, and within several years, everybody's wondering what happenned to all the young people, all the while missing the fact that the young people are the ones who they won out over.

That may be the most simplified, biased view of recent church history that's ever been documented in any form, but it does give you a sense of where I and my cohorts are coming from. Having said all that, we've been very wrong. First, regardless of the past, it is never a good choice to overcompensate in order to clarify the "truth." The end result is not health, but a drastic swing to the opposite. If the world had become anti-German after WW2, goodness would not have been served in any way. We'd simply be dealing with bigotry focused ona different group of people, equally unjust to the original wrongdoings. Second, We young people are bred for arrogance and idealism these days (as I think is the tradition) and therefore tend to discount what we disagree with, especially if we have spent a lot of time and energy formulating our perspectives. While this is par for the course when it comes to those of us under, let's say 40-ish, and is more drastic the younger one is, that doesn't make it right. We have a tendency to spit on the ideas of those who came before us, forgetting that it was their revolutionary ideas that got us where we are today, just as the next generation will have us to thank for where they are when they reach their prime.

So I'm sorry to all of you people who I have marginalized in one way or another. I pledge to do my best from now on to recognize your wisdom and experience as the asset that it is. I will do a better job at putting myself in your place and consider how I will feel in another 40 years when my ideas are dismissed because my motives are assumed to be crotchety and my status with society is labeled "out of touch."

I never thought these things of myself. I felt I was very open-minded and accepting. If your under 40, as you process this entry, do your best to honestly consider how you feel when you hear criticism from an elder that goes against what you believe to be right, or even just good clean fun, for example, when you're told, maybe even tactlessly, that the music's too loud.

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