There are so many skills lost by one single generation failing to pass along their knowledge and wisdom to their children. How to live simply, how to live within one’s means, how to build a fire or cook on a wood-burning stove, and how to prepare foods and meals passed down for generations have become replaced by convenience and “experts” dictating what is “best.” In the end, the tastes and knowledge of the past are lost.
My kids and grandkids hated to hear the mantras, but eventually mud will stick to any wall. So here are a few of the things that I have found important to glean from our elders, should the younger generations of today choose to take heed:
Don’t waste food. You may not like what you are served, but it is better than going hungry.
Don’t waste material goods—toys, tools, pencils, paper, etc. There may come a day when they cannot be replaced. Learning early to take care of what you have will pay dividends in the long run.
Don’t waste money. Learn to handle it properly, and you will not be wanting.
Learn From Your Elders
The older generation can teach you valuable life lessons, like how to maintain healthy and moral habits instead of neglect of body and soul, discipline instead of impulsivity, work before pleasure, etc.
The older generation can teach skills they knew from long ago that have been replaced by technological advancements. While these skills are old technology, one day they may come in handy if and when modern technology no longer works. They may even save your life.
The older generation can show you how to avoid mistakes they made so that the younger generation will not have to repeat the same learning process.
Don’t lie! Lying destroys trust. If a person lies, restoring trust with others, especially those closest to you, will be far harder than if the lie was never told.
Don’t Be Shallow and Naive—Learn to Think for Yourself
There is no greater gift to yourself than to think clearly and learn deeply.
Don’t just accept what your peers, society, a movie or sports star, the media, teachers, politicians, even your doctor tell you. Research for yourself. What might work for one person isn’t necessarily good for you.
Never be satisfied with what you are told to think or do. Question it. See if there is more that either you can do, or you can learn. The more questions you ask, the more knowledge you gain. The more you learn, the more intellectual experience you will have when faced with choices in the future.
Learn to search for Truth, and it will come if you look hard enough. If it were easy to attain, it wouldn’t remain in your heart and mind for long. Truth is hard-won, and, once reached, isn’t likely to be taken from you by lies or shallow opinions.
To live shallowly is to simply try to find the easy way out of any situation, no matter how minor. And, in the end, that can cost you more of yourself in the long run than what you should be willing to lose.
Above All, Learn to Give
Learn to live simply.
Love what you have and what you are given, but never so much that you wouldn’t be willing to give it all away.
Above all, give generously to others. No greater pleasure can be attained from giving to others, especially those unable to help themselves. Living for instantaneous gratifications and pleasures of this world will never give lasting satisfaction in this life. The only thing it produces is the desire for more things, more pleasures. But to give to someone else is a satisfaction that expands your heart with love for those around you. And that is a lasting treasure far greater than any material gain.
Learning from one’s elders is filled with invaluable life lessons. And there are far more lessons to learn than what is listed here. No older generation should miss the opportunity to give those gems of wisdom to those younger than themselves. It would be selfish to keep those lessons to one’s self. Pass that knowledge forward and keep the momentum going.
Remember that you—moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, and uncles—are the bridge between knowledge lost or knowledge retained for generations to come.
Maureen Alley, Georgia
What advice would you like to give to the younger generations?
We call on all of our readers to share the timeless values that define right and wrong, and pass the torch, if you will, through your wisdom and hard-earned experience. We feel that the passing down of this wisdom has diminished over time, and that only with a strong moral foundation can future generations thrive.
Send your advice, along with your full name, state, and contact information to NextGeneration@epochtimes.com or mail it to: Next Generation, The Epoch Times, 229 W. 28th St., Floor 7, New York, NY 10001