Never Too Old to Be Tacky

Supposedly, the older you get, the wiser you become. Life’s experiences deepen character. You’re more patient, understanding, empathetic, and kind. Things become more flexible and conditional, and less inflexible and absolute. Younger generations discover how to cope with life, and prosper in it, by learning from wise silver-haired gurus.

This is the theory. Unfortunately, incidents like what happened recently at a Florida retirement community called The Villages show that we’re never too old to still be tacky.

On June 14th a group of seniors paraded in golf carts on behalf of President Trump. The sidewalks were lined with anti-Trump seniors. It got very ugly. Both sides screamed and pointed at each other, lobbing curses and obscenities with the force of a mortar.

This scene of older people behaving badly made national news. It generated a lot of laughter from younger generations. As one person tweeted, we’re watching a wave of activism that nothing can stop ”except stairs and high curbs.”

I wonder what the grandchildren of these F-bombing brawlers thought when they saw Grandma Ethel almost duke it out with a MAGA man.

Didn’t life teach these people anything?

Why didn’t they learn that a person’s opinion doesn’t diminish your own, and there’s no need to attack them?

Or that you can stand for what you believe without needing to demonize the other side?

Or that a person you disagree with thinks they’re just as right as you are, and calls for curiosity not anger?

Or that we all are really flawed people and need each other to see things better?

I don’t agree that we live in the most divisive of times, as a rumble on a street in The Villages would seem to reflect. We’ve always had such skirmishes, regardless of age or era. The problem is that people just have a hard time growing up. We enjoy the adolescent, insecurity-based fantasy of absolute right/wrong, good/bad, win/lose, us/them.   

The call of discipleship requires “giving up childish things,” as Paul once said. It’s a call to maturity. The early church thrived on the very plurality we seem to have difficulty with. Even though those Christians assembled from a fragmented, divisive society, they embodied a tight-knit community that stood out. Indeed, it might not have been the teachings of Jesus, but the embodiment of those teachings in how the believers loved each other, that energized the church’s exponential growth.

I really don’t hold out much hope that our nation is going to have a come-to-Jesus revelation and grow united. There is simply too much playing to our baser instincts to see this happening anytime soon, if ever. However, we who say we’ve already come to Jesus must prove it to the world. I dare any of those geriatric combatants in The Villages to go to church and not feel hypocritical.

We who are Christian must model maturity to an adolescent nation. Regardless of age, we’re never too old to be patient, understanding, empathetic, and kind. It’s also never too late to try.

10 thoughts on “Never Too Old to Be Tacky”

  1. This message is great, Greg. At my advanced age I remember lots about my absolute opinions and lack of tolerance and regard for opposing opinions which hopefully with several attitude adjustments I have mellowed somewhat, but along with my older peers still have a ways to go.

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  2. This is a great message, Greg. At my advanced age I remember well in my earlier years I had little patience and tolerance for opposing opinions, thought in terms of absolutes, but with a few attitude adjustments along life’s trails I mellowed somewhat, but still along with some of my aging peers still have a long way to go. Hopefully we can continue to improve and disprove the idea, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.

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  3. Message is great! I have learned simply to take it one day at a time, take care of one person at a time, and let God do the rest. An older gentleman today started asking me questions, and called me over and over “young man”, so that gives me hope. Ha! river+

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  4. At my advanced age I think I will make a copy to save and probably have to read again, several times, between now and the election. Thanks Greg.

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  5. thanks for the great message – However, I seem to have a far differing observation on your take.. As a young adult so hope FILLED in my 20-40 year old body, teaching disabled students and raising young children I had ALL the patience politically correct words to use in the WORLD!! I tolerated and put-up with many many unpleasetnesses.. if that is even a word..but I was always hope FILLED..then I entered my 70’s — now midway through i am finding elderly persons are VERY inpatient and intolerant of a LOT!! Difficult to understand and be patient with..eager to show and share THEIR opinion. As this simi-shut down continues I am finding less and less tolerant and happy persons.. People are tired.. People have become totally HUMAN.. and need lots of LOVE.. I am reading Max Lucado’s 3:16 The Numbers of Hope. I need HOPE more now than I ever have in my whole life. I try to be tolerant of impatient and angry persons, be they 25 or 75 and beyond… Letting them go ‘first’ before me and since I can’t ‘show’ a smile wearing my “mask” that hides the ‘mask’ I normally wear trying to live the Christian life.. I try in my body language to cut them a bit of ‘slack’..we of a sinful nature.. None us is perfect in this imperfect world. God Bless us ALL and God Bless American!!

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    • Susan, thanks for such an in depth and thoughtful comment. Sometimes it does seem that as we grow older, our “nice” button doesn’t operate as efficiently as it should! Maybe the best we can do is to each learn from our past mistakes and let that learning help us become the person God wants us to be. I don’t think intended us to act like the folks shouting at each other in the Villages!

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