Close

April 29, 1992

Respect Your Elders

Share With Friends

Gray hair is a crown of splendor. PROVERBS 16:31
In our youth-oriented culture, gray hair isn’t considered to be desirable. When the gray strands start to outnumber the colored ones, our first inclination is to hop in the shower to “wash that gray right out of our hair.” We’d rather apply chemicals to our hair than run the risk of looking old before our time, especially if we’re in a profession that places a premium on youthful good looks.
In Old Testament times, however, gray hair was not something to be dreaded. In those days, people respected their elders. People naturally assumed that older people—easily identified as such by their gray “crowns of splendor”—knew more and had more wisdom than their younger counterparts.
Sadly, that is often not the case today, especially in the workplace. In a rapidly changing, extremely competitive corporate environment, it is usually the young, energetic, aggressive, innovative twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings who get noticed. They’re the ones with all the potential and all the fresh, new ideas. Or are they?
While it’s true that many workers in their fifties and early sixties are simply biding their time until retirement, many others have just as much to offer as their youthful colleagues. In fact, when you factor in the wisdom and knowledge that often comes with experience, the gray-haired employees might even have more to offer.
If you’re in a position of leadership at your company, don’t bypass someone for a promotion or key position just because he might qualify for the senior citizen’s discount at Denny’s. His expertise might be just what’s needed to take that department or project to the next level. And if you’re one of those aggressive twenty- or thirty-somethings, make it a point to seek out advice and counsel from your older coworkers. They might teach you more than you think—about work and about life.

Share With Friends