(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)
I know there are older people who might like me, and me them, but generally speaking, it appears older people naturally go up in age and inward in focus. I do not think there is an intent in them to go downward in age and outward in focus. — A Millennial
In a Bible study last night where we talked about this quote from a Millennial in our online community, Roberta made an observation: “Well that’s the first time I’ve heard of ‘down and out’ being about something positive.”
And indeed it is. This insightful comment about encouraging older people to go “downward in age and outward in focus” comes from a Millennial who has observed how older Boomers, like all of us, really, have a tendency to stay within their own peer group. And the tendency to focus in on oneself versus out among others, has definitely been fed by the pandemic, where everyone’s alone time has gotten a big boost.
But we’re starting to come out of this, and this Millennial is encouraging older people to get out and find younger people to befriend. And that’s a definite requirement if we are to become the voice of Christ to the younger generations.
You can see why Boomers would want to stay focused on those their age and older. These are the people who have occupied the same world as they have for most of their lives. It’s familiar territory. They know what they’re talking about. Whereas younger generations have grown up in a drastically different world. They don’t think the same. Their worldview is completely different. In many cases they don’t even talk the same language.
Boomers grew up in a modern age where truth was truth — an absolute that could be discovered outside yourself. You could agree on it or disagree on it, but it was there to be reckoned with. It was truth you could bump into. Millennials, on the other hand, have grown up in a postmodern age where truth is considered relative to what each person wants to believe. Your truth, most likely, will not be my truth. So how do we even talk about it? Not to mention the technological age which is second nature to Millennials and a jungle for Boomers. So for Boomers to go “down and out” is a big risk that takes effort, new thinking, a lot of listening, and even learning a new language. But who wants to grow old with a bunch of over-the-hill hippies? Don’t you want to stay in touch, stay vital, learn new things, and watch how God can speak to and through new generations? And don’t you want to help them do all that? Do you want to stay in the sun or fade into the shadows?
It’s for Boomers to decide: up and in, or down and out? The next generations need the voice of Christ. If you have it, don’t hold onto it. Go down and out in your town.