Are All Old Guys Wise?

So I am on my way to the place that works on my Ramp Van and I stop at Einstein Brothers to get a poppyseed bagel and a cup of their dark blend.. and the young guy at the checkout asks me if I am an "Old Wise Guy".. I replied yes because I wanted to get the ten percent discount. Yet it did get me to wondering this thought:
Are all old guys wise?
Of course the answer is "maybe not".. or is it "maybe so"? Without get into a long definition of wisdom and what it means to be wise I would like to say that I think part of what it means to be wise is to have experience - both the good and the bad sort. I would categorically say that I am wiser now then I was when I was younger.. hands down I have learned from both my successes and my failures. Who can say that they have not grown wiser with age?

So I begin to think about this whole thing of aging and how sometimes much younger people lead older folks. Perhaps this usually happens because the younger person has more expertise.. wisdom if you will.. than the older person in a specific trade.. or maybe the older person lacks leadership wisdom. Do you see where I am going? Not sure that I do yet. But it does lead me to another question:
Should Elders be elder?
Yes.. I am sorta speaking of church.. but I think the question is even broader than that. People seem to be preoccupied with youthful leaders - I think that one of the appeals of candidate Barack Obama was his youthful energy.. while candidate John McCain seemed old standing beside him.. even a Saturday Night Live skit played on McCain's elderlyness. And I have to admit that this seems to bleed over into the religious world as well.. I know church "Elders" who are in their 20s and 30s.. not too elderly for sure.

So what am I saying? Not sure I really have a point other than to say that I think that our culture does not really esteem the wisdom of elders or of being elderly. I think that we once did. I do remember a time when gray haired men mentored and taught me both in my professional and religious life. I had many uncles in the faith and teachers on my job.. especially in my 20s and 30s.

Getting back to the question - The answer is yes! I do think that all old guys are wise when compared with younger versions on themselves.. even if they do appear to be old fools at times - not that I can relate.


  1. There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are very few old bold pilots.

  2. @jrchaard - Depends what your definition of "bold" is. If it means rash and unpredictable I tend to agree with you. Have you ever seen Space Cowboys? :)

  3. Interesting take, Bob. There is something to be said for the wisdom that comes with experience. Though as noted previously, I am wary when people choose experience over vision. (Not too many young bank CEOs). Jefferson and Madison wrote Declaration and Constitution while in their 30's (but no 30-somethings in US Senate today). The elders at my church were in 30's when the church stated -- 15 yrs later, the elders (different people) are all in their 50's.

    When we are talking about a group of leaders, whether senate or elder board, I would prefer to see a mix.

  4. Good points Ed! Maybe the moral is that you need younger folks to start something and older folks to maintain and finish it? But I do think it is pitiful that the average age of folks in the Senate is 65.

  5. I tend to agree with you Bob, being in ministry many years and seeing the leadership styles of both young and old. We need the Timothy's and Mark's, but Lord, we need the Moses and Abrahams!

    The young women in my Bible class say I'm "wise"... I smile and think 69 years of life, the good the bad and the ugly, happiness and sorrow, getting and giving up... Yes, I wise for two reasons, I've learned through experiences, and I learned to rely on God's Word.

    I guess you can say I'm the female version of the old geezer!!


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