Down and out in your town

(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)


I know there are older people who might like me, and me them, but generally speaking, it appears older people naturally go up in age and inward in focus. I do not think there is an intent in them to go downward in age and outward in focus. — A Millennial

In a Bible study last night where we talked about this quote from a Millennial in our online community, Roberta made an observation: “Well that’s the first time I’ve heard of ‘down and out’ being about something positive.”

And indeed it is. This insightful comment about encouraging older people to go “downward in age and outward in focus” comes from a Millennial who has observed how older Boomers, like all of us, really, have a tendency to stay within their own peer group. And the tendency to focus in on oneself versus out among others, has definitely been fed by the pandemic, where everyone’s alone time has gotten a big boost.

But we’re starting to come out of this, and this Millennial is encouraging older people to get out and find younger people to befriend. And that’s a definite requirement if we are to become the voice of Christ to the younger generations. 

You can see why Boomers would want to stay focused on those their age and older. These are the people who have occupied the same world as they have for most of their lives. It’s familiar territory. They know what they’re talking about. Whereas younger generations have grown up in a drastically different world. They don’t think the same. Their worldview is completely different. In many cases they don’t even talk the same language. 

Boomers grew up in a modern age where truth was truth — an absolute that could be discovered outside yourself. You could agree on it or disagree on it, but it was there to be reckoned with. It was truth you could bump into. Millennials, on the other hand, have grown up in a postmodern age where truth is considered relative to what each person wants to believe. Your truth, most likely, will not be my truth. So how do we even talk about it? Not to mention the technological age which is second nature to Millennials and a jungle for Boomers. So for Boomers to go “down and out” is a big risk that takes effort, new thinking, a lot of listening, and even learning a new language. But who wants to grow old with a bunch of over-the-hill hippies? Don’t you want to stay in touch, stay vital, learn new things, and watch how God can speak to and through new generations? And dont you want to help them do all that? Do you want to stay in the sun or fade into the shadows?

It’s for Boomers to decide: up and in, or down and out? The next generations need the voice of Christ. If you have it, don’t hold onto it. Go down and out in your town.

This entry was posted in Millennials, relationships, Worldview and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Down and out in your town

  1. Mark D Seguin says:

    Like Today’s Catch & liked the old Movie w/ Mel Brooks “Down ‘n’ Out in Beverly Hills” is I am remembering correctly or maybe he Directed it..?

  2. Peter Leenheer says:

    In my church people are labelled…. youth, young adults, singles, married with children, seniors and shut-ins…..these are some of the labels. If this is your church also, refuse to go and ‘play shuffle board with the seniors group’. Bible studies you attend should have no specified age group or time of life group. It is way more fun, inspiring and enjoyable to hear the different points of view of the whole spectrum. Just recently my church began what is called community groups…where all ages and times of life people are welcome. Very successful!! An outward focus for the elders.
    Ten years ago +- I joined such a group and I was labelled Dr. Phil. It was respectful. Listening to the members of the group was the first priority and while it was a different time, the feelings and desires and relationships principles had not changed.

    The good old days are the past, and to constantly bring that up is an inward focus. The world was always bad. Just go to Genesis and read around the time God decided to send the flood. So let your body be old but your thoughts up to date, talk to a mellenial.

  3. Toni Petrella says:

    I can remember when I was a teenager back in the seventies and I felt comfortable talking to older folks then who mostly came of age in their teens or early twenties in the fifties. Well, we talked about the Lord and many other subjects and at the time I felt comfortable with that. It would be great if a young person feels the same right now talking to us. Its possible if we are open with that person. God wants us all to be open and honest with each other. Take care, and God Bless, always.

  4. John A Fagliano says:

    A few do’s and don’ts for boomers interacting with millennials:

    Don’t judge them if their language or humor is raw or if they talk too openly about sex. My parents’ generation didn’t know how to deal with the changes in culture the 60’s and 70’s brought about. Let’s not be the same. Millennials NEVER knew a time when there wasn’t R rated movies. Think about it. 40 years ago, Rick James began a pop hit with the lyric “She’s a very kinky girl” This is the only culture they’ve ever known. The fact that Millennials and those younger, have any semblance of morals and standards is a testament to the fact they came up with it themselves. It sure didn’t come from the culture they’ve known.

    Do relate to the struggles they face. They could have personal, financial, or family issues that we can understand. Just listen.

    Don’t give them that “In my day, things were different” baloney. Let them know how truly the same we all are regardless of whether we grew up with the internet.

    Don’t think age difference can prevent you from being a friend. Sure, you won’t hang out a lot or have too many interests in common, but if they can consider you a friend just the same then there is a lot you can offer.

  5. A twenty-year old becomes a ninety-eight year old.
    Named for a flower, condemned as a number: A-10572.
    Deliverance comes.
    Kindness expressed.
    Faith restored.
    Life prevails.
    In response Lily says, “I will tell my story.”

    An eighteen-year old helps tell Lily’s story through Tik Tok.
    Young Tik Tok viewers see, watch and listen – they yearn to learn.
    Millions have now seen and heard, and desire to understand and engage.
    A pre-boomer “influencer” to post-millennials… and everyone in-between.

    If a near-centenarian can connect to todays teen-agers, then we boomers and millennials certainly have no excuse not to befriend one another or any others whose lives and language may seem or be different.

    Today, on this Holocaust Remembrance Day, here is the story of that twenty-year old who miraculously lived to become a ninety-eight year old.
    Lily Ebert is changing the world one Tik Tok at a time.

    The story of Lily Ebert:

  6. Lisa in Sunland says:

    Can’t help but wonder after the last several Catches on this subject… why is all the talk about the Boomers about reaching down and out? Why not a call for the Millennials to reach “up”?
    There is a big factor that hasn’t been mentioned – many who are younger than Boomers have ridiculed them for reaching out. An example is “Okay, Boomer” being somewhat recently added to our language as a phrase patting the silly little Boomer on the head as he or she says their usual irrelevance. So, basically, HOW to reach out to those who are younger?!
    If Boomers are able to reach upward, then why can’t Millennials and younger also reach upward? I don’t know a Boomer who wouldn’t be thrilled.

  7. jwfisch says:

    Of course we would hope for this. But this is also an example of how we can always change our behavior but we cannot expect anyone else to. Yes, if Millennials reach up, we will; be thrilled, but we’re not going to sit around and wait for it to happen.

  8. paul sonkowsky says:

    Relating to those who are different from us can be a challenge. People like Lily, whom Bob referred to above, show us that it’s worth it. When I was young, the equivalent to today’s “Ok boomer” could be found in Dylan’s song, “The Times They Are a-Changin'”. Now that I’m on the other side of the equation, will I in turn be one who “blocks up the hall” and “criticizes what I don’t understand”? Or will I answer the call to “lend a hand”?

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