A friend of mine, who likes a good joke, sent me an email to let me know that we who are older are especially valuable because, among other things, we are likely to have silver in our hair and gold in our teeth.
Joking aside, older people need to know that they are valuable members of society, because they often feel others think they have passed their use-by date.
There are plenty of examples of people of retirement age who hold high office in government and positions of responsibility in business and the community. Experience is an asset that holds its value.
Corporate bodies can be disadvantaged by a lack of older, long-time employees. A rapid turnover of staff can mean the loss of important corporate memory that helps to minimise the risk of repeating mistakes of the past.
I think in some groups there can be a kind of apartheid based on age. This is a pity because youth and age need each other. The value in age lies in having “been there and done that”—and there can be mutual gain when good advice is graciously given and respectfully received.
Thirty years ago I saw a slag heap in a town, all that remained of a disused gold mine. It’s no longer there, though, because with modern means of processing more gold has been found in that abandoned pile of waste.
Instead of discarding older people, we should recognise that “there’s gold in them thar hills”—experience and ability too good to waste. My personal faith in God reassures me that he never sees anybody as fit only for the rubbish tip. He sees possibilities in everyone, regardless of their age.