Flutterby™! : The Age Card

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

The Age Card

2003-06-11 19:26:28.441151+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

While I'm waiting for software to install on two machines: Dave points to Michael Gartenberg asking "what is an Age Card?". I'm sure I've ranted on this before, but here's the answer: In my meager years on this earth, I've learned that:

  1. Those older than me who think they have something to teach me usually do, but the lesson is almost always counter to what they think it is.
  2. The people still learning, still willing to hear, are the ones who actually have the valuable information. These people will never say "you'll understand when you're older".
  3. I'm already past the life expectancy of those mythical tribal populations where the elderly are respected.
  4. Youth and enthusiasm make up for a lot, and experience is a better teacher than any teacher will ever be.

#4.a:My Opa also taught me that "old age and treachery beat youth and skill, every time". Remember, as someone is trying to get you to believe something based on their age and alleged experiences that the "treachery" bit is really something learned with those experiences.

[ related topics: Children and growing up Dan's Life Dave Winer History Education ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2003-06-12 02:21:52.704377+00 by: Larry Burton

Well, if as you say, experience is the best teacher then when someone tells you that you'll understand when you are older then they must understand that experience is the best teacher even if they don't realize it.

#Comment made: 2003-06-12 04:51:58.360897+00 by: Shawn

Ah, but that presupposes that this older person's experience is relevant to mine (or what mine will be). For example; so much has changed in our lives, culture and society that the experiences I will have (or have already had) are nowhere near most of those of my grandparents.

#Comment made: 2003-06-12 15:54:37.219459+00 by: Dan Lyke

Shawn: Bingo. It also assumes that the older person has actually had more experience. Often those who spew the "you'll understand when you get older" have been reliving the same experience rather than finding new ones.

#Comment made: 2003-06-12 18:04:59.957146+00 by: dws

But quite often the stuff that "you'll understand when you get older" requires that you've lived long enough to see patterns and cycles (clothing fads, economic booms/busts, "hype" cycles, etc.). Your interpretation might be difference, but you'll see that pattern. When you're young and everything is new, it's hard to believe that it's not really all that new.

#Comment made: 2003-06-12 18:21:57.473172+00 by: Dan Lyke

I've had people who've seen the cycles tell me "keep believing", making it obvious that they no longer believed, but that they applauded the enthusiasm. But the folks who said "you'll understand when you get older" generally were buying into the hype. Personal experience on this matter differs, I guess.

I guess my real point is not that those older than me don't have anything to teach me, but that nearly everyone has something to teach me, and those who think they have something to teach me based just on their age (ie: "The Age Card") have always, in my experience, been wrong about what they thought they were teaching me.