LIVING TREASURES 

Here is a man I encountered during a recent event at the local historical society in West Allis where I live. His name is David HB Drake. As you can see in the photo he plays several unique instruments and sings as well. What makes Mr. Drake special is that a lot of what he plays and sings are songs from the past. He also knows the story behind what he sings and passes it along to those who listen to him. To attend one of his performances is both educational as well as entertaining.

I am not sure of Mr. Drake’s age, but he is what we consider a senior citizen. In this country often that designation comes with an impression of helplessness, or someone who is passed their prime and does not have a lot to offer. The sad thing is that by taking that view we miss the great gifts these people have to offer us. The knowledge Mr. Drake has gathered has taken him a lifetime. To learn, practice and perform all of the songs he does can only be done with years of actually doing it. The passion he delivers it with is special and unique to him. A young person could not come in and do what he does. We could read books to learn the facts he delivers, but we would not experience them. The sparkle he has in his eye while telling you about what life was like in logging camps of the 1800’s cannot be read, but must be felt.

There are stories and gifts like this in every senior we know. I personally recall my grandfather telling me stories of his time in the south pacific during the second world war. Those stories could not have been read in any book on the subject and give me a personal perspective to add to what I do read about that period. Wisdom comes with time and experience and is something money cannot buy. So please treat your elders as the living treasures they are. Mine all of the ‘gold’ you can from them before they are gone. Ask questions, listen to their stories. You will not only be helping them understand and feel how valuable and treasured they are, but you will also be learning and helping yourself.

Feel free to share this post with as many as you can so we will not lose any more living treasures without experiencing the gifts they have to offer.

A LIVING TREASURE

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It amazes me in our current culture how little value is placed on our senior citizens. They have seen more and experienced more than most of us. Whatever most of us are going through they have a story they can relate. They can also give us a gift of foretelling our future to a great extent. What do I mean by this? People that are older than us have not only seen a great deal in their own lives, but have seen a good many others live their lives as well. They essentially know if you play the game this way, the end result will be this.

The trouble is, when we are young it can be difficult to fully understand, or believe what they are telling us. Having not lived the amount of years they have, or experiencing what they may have went through it can often seem like we are speaking two different languages. So why would it be important to listen to someone speaking a language we don’t? In this case everyone will eventually learn this language.

Finding this all a little hard to follow? Let me share a personal story with you. My grandfather was one of the most important and influential people in my life. We had plenty of private conversations where he shared with me what he knew of life. There were times I found it hard to maintain interest and even others when I thought he was crazy. My grandfather passed away almost two decades ago. Here is the amazing thing, some of what he taught me I am only now able to understand. He teaches me, and I learn from him to this very day, almost 20 years after his passing. There are always moments when I wish he were still alive to clarify a point, or to answer a question. It is then I realize I should have paid more attention to the words he spoke when he was here.

So yourself a huge favor, when an elder speaks to you make sure you listen. They are our greatest teachers and our living treasures.