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via Guardians

I was going to post another of my poems and Balroop’s poem came through my reader. It fits with my recent thinking about the role of elders as guardians of what is to be passed on. Take a few minutes to read her wonderful poetry posted at her blog.

Hans-Georg Gadamer wrote “youth demands images for its imagination and for forming its memory.” I extended this, in my dissertation, to elders offering those images. Without the stories elders provide, youth are left without any sense of where humans have been and the accumulated wisdom. As well, this demand is a question for our youth to offer them something tangible.

Balroop captures this sentiment in the following stanza from Guardians:

Ask the village elders
Their valor shines in their faces
They earned your freedom
They exemplify human values.

Like mountains act as guardians in nature, elders act as guardians through stories shared with youth to pass on wisdom, not information.

I took this picture of Mount Kerkeslin standing guard over the Icefields Parkway between Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park.


23 responses »

  1. Hi Ivan — another beautiful post. The mountain photos that you post are my favorites. I’m a mountain person, although I can’t claim to have lived in close proximity to many during this lifetime. Tomas identifies himself “as a mountain”, so perhaps that’s all the proximity I need.

    Anyway, I’m happy you addressed “Wisdom” in this post. A couple of days ago, I chose “wisdom” as the higher dimensional lens of perception through which to view my day. Here are a couple of thoughts I recorded in my journal that morning on the topic of wisdom.

    I carry wisdom in my cells, my cellular memory. Some of the memories are traumatic, others are shining gems. All of them are have become the distilled and incorporated lessons that form my foundation of wisdom, a platform that supports me as solidly as the floor of my house. Wisdom is like the GPS, my inner guidance system that gives me direction in alignment with my deepest truth.

    I believe it takes time to experience, distill and integrate these life lessons. I believe that this is why many native cultures do not allow a tribal member to become a chief until they have lived 50 years or more. We need that time to gain the foundation under us and understand that this is our guidance system for continuing to live a life based in our own truth. We, as elders, pass this on to our youth through our presence. And, as you have said, through our stories that serve as the parables of our own (or our culture’s) experiences, that over time, have become the wisdom in our cells. Blessings to you and the Guardians, Alia

  2. Boomer EcoCrusader

    Thank you for posting. We must never lose the wisdom of our elders. There is so much to learn from them. And the Icefields Parkway is one of my favourite places on Earth!

    • I agree Michelle on both points: elders and the Parkway. I drove it with colleagues from Quebec several years ago. They reminded me how easy it is to take what is in my backyard for granted. At each turn, they seemed to see something more spectacular.

  3. I guess it depends on where you live. I don’t know any “younger” people who would listen,let alone care. That kind of “listening,” and “respect for the past,” has not been taught in the US, except in certain areas and tribes.

    • I agree Gigi. It is not just the US. I think the same has happened in Canada. As we emerge from this health crisis, I hope we take time to rethink how we engage intergenerationally.

  4. Thank you for embedding my verse about the wisdom of elders and interpreting it in your own way Ivon, much appreciated.
    Though youngsters are drifting away from the wisdom of the elders and consider themselves “know-all,” there is still some hope in some parts of the globe.

    • You are welcome Balroop. I agree. I think there are cultures where youth and their elders share in much different ways. I think the role of elders in the western world is quite different than in other more integrated cultures.

  5. There are many older people whom I consider wise but also some who have lost their way and tend towards a more critical disposition. I remember meeting a older woman a few decades ago and she was as serene and wise as could be, I wanted to sit at her feet and absorb every word that came out of her mouth. Right then and there I vowed to myself that I would not become a cranky older person that young people avoided. I wanted to be like her, kind, gentle, appealing. I’m a work in progress, aren’t we all, I still strive for to procure this persona, sometimes failing miserably, and other times hitting the mark. To wisdom, not just information! C

    • You are so right Cheryl. We are always in a state of becoming and so is the world around us, along with each human we encounter. The challenge is to continue to see the world and humans, including ourselves, this way.
      I told our daughter-in-law today, if you scratch a cynic, you find an idealist right below the surface. What you say is true. I think of people who were quite idealistic 40 years ago and see how angry they are today. They have lost their way.

  6. As elders, it is important that we pass on our values to the younger generation. They may not always listen to our words, but they watch our example carefully.

  7. What beautiful truths Ivon. Hope you are well and safe. Loving blessings to you! 💕💕

  8. Good news! We all must keep safe during these fast-moving unpredictable times. Thank you for stopping in for coffee and for giving feedback. Sending happy cheers to fortify your week ahead! 💕☕️💕☕️🙏❤️❤️🙏☕️🌈

  9. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  10. In the U.S.A. it seems that most young people don’t want to listen or care about the older generation anymore. Now, often the wisdom of the elders–dies with the elders unheard.


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