Monday, March 26, 2018

The Wisdom of Old People

I firmly believe in judging people by who they are instead of what they are.  It seems easy enough in principle, but then life gets in the way.  You absolutely can judge a book by its cover sometimes.  That's why books have covers.  It just isn't fair to the person being judged.  Which brings me to old people.  Many people believe age comes with wisdom, and respect for those wisened older people is a virtue.

I think you definitely can parlay your time on this planet into wisdom.  You'd be wrong to assume everyone does.  A lot of our learning is as a collective.  Judging people by who they are, for example.  Someone who is old now, grew up in a time when racism was much more acceptable.  They are much more likely to hold onto this belief, in my opinion.  That is not wise.

Another example is a call I got from my mother's husband yesterday.  People pressured him into calling me.  He had called a phone number in a popup on his computer, gave this stranger access to his computer, and all of his bank account information.  He was still in his computer when he called.

You might be thinking, this is not a wisdom issue, he's just ignored the technological developments made over the last 30 years.  How is that not unwise?  Computers are clearly powerful tools.  He is definitely bad with technology, but he's had access to computers longer than I have.  He resisted it, while I embraced it.

But is it really a technology issue?  He's had a bank account much longer than I have been alive.  He knows not to give out that information.  He knows it can be used to transfer funds out of his account.

You might be thinking, he comes from a simpler, a more trusting time.  He became an adult in the late 60's.  The 60's and 70's had much higher crime rates.  This is a man who thinks George Bush Jr. took out the twin towers, and there is a cure for age related hearing loss that big-hearing-aid doesn't want you to know about.  He's capable of suspicion.

And you might be thinking he's an outlier.  He is not alone.  These people prey almost exclusively on older people due to their lack of wisdom.  My friend's mother gave a similar attacker access to her tax information the same way less than a year ago.

I am not suggesting we start labeling a person as unwise just because they are old.  I'm saying we need to stop labeling people wise just because they are old.  Label people based on who they are, not what they are.

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