The Age of Earned Respect
People treat you differently after you age
They don’t greet you as the personality you’ve always been
They look at your façade, mentally labeling you an aging child
And manufacture courtesy to make you feel you’re age ten.
Of course, wherever you go, there are young employees
Probably from eighteen to late twenties in years
They have no thought that they will one day grow old
Unwittingly believing they possess the fountain of youth,
the sweet little dears.
There was a time when they looked at you with respect
As if you might know a little more than they
Now they see you, an aging version of humanity
Wisdom shriveled up in burned-out cells, old with decay.
I wish I could tell the population of youthful youngsters
That wisdom comes with age and getting old
That youth and life is a set of building blocks composed of
A search, a conquest, a trial and error challenge that unfolds—
Into wisdom with age.
I wish I could tell them that every small experience
Brings a thought, a feeling, and another step toward mental growth
Filling the hungry mind with seeds of knowledge
That grows into wisdom and intelligence both.
I wish I could tell them to listen to their elders
Whose experiences include trials, failures, challenges and success
Recorded by the wise old sayings of man’s journey through life
That offers guidelines for the less wise toward being their best.
I wish I could tell them to show respect
Not for a wrinkled old body, but for the storehouse of the mind
That still feels young and full of beautiful life
Revering life’s continued blessings of every known kind, while
They smile at the challenges tackled by young people
Who refuse to listen to their mentors, parents and elders
Who once walked a similar path of growing pains
as they now do in helter-skelter.
© 2010 Jeanette Cooper