17 Life Lessons Today’s Youth Should Learn from The Older Generation

With time, everything changes, from how we speak and dress to our social standards and technology. While the average grandparent may not be able to explain how a smartphone works, they still have valuable wisdom and insight gleaned from the best learning tool of all: experience! Here are 17 valuable traits older people have that today’s youth could benefit from.

Resilience

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Grandparents often grew up in tough times, and many experienced extreme poverty, war, or social upheaval that forced them to be resilient. In our modern world of economic instability, pandemics, and political tensions, Forbes says such resilience can benefit young people when navigating hardships and increase their chances of succeeding.

Thrifty Habits

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Economic austerity was typical for many older people from poorer backgrounds, prompting them to acquire money-saving habits. Young people growing up in expensive cities should take note and learn how to stretch their limited resources by budgeting, saving, and reducing their outgoings by repairing or repurposing.

Appreciating Simple Pleasures

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With more free time, grandparents are the perfect people to show children how to enjoy life’s greatest pleasures, like nature and family time. The Intelligencer states that showing young people how to enjoy everyday, low-cost activities like gardening and baking can make them more content and teach them valuable life skills.

The Value of Hard Work

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Unfortunately, the adage “you don’t get something for nothing” is often true. Faster Capital says grandparents who developed a strong work ethic during their careers can instill perseverance and dogged determination in younger generations. This can give them an edge in competitive environments and help them achieve their long-term goals.

Respect for Elders

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While older doesn’t mean better, societies throughout history have recognized the importance of respecting older people with their superior life experience and somewhat elevated status. A recent study from Tarbiat Modares University in Tehran says grandparents connect generations and instill moral ‘correctness,’ which can benefit young people entering professional environments.

Practical Life Skills

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Many of us have happy memories of fishing with Grandpa or cooking with Grandma, and such activities also pass down valuable knowledge and life skills. Younger people who are taught to undertake home repairs, sew clothes, or bake cakes are more self-reliant, confident, and resourceful.

Family Traditions

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HelpMeGrowUtah claims, “Grandparents help teach family culture, tradition, and history.” Understanding who we are and where we’ve come from is essential, especially for young people who are still developing their own sense of self. Maintaining family customs is part of our cultural heritage, and grandparents play an important role in passing that on.

Tolerance

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Not every older person has these traits, but living a long life full of frustrations and social interactions can help them understand the benefits of respecting and accommodating others. The younger generation can benefit from learning such traits, which will surely make their lives less stressful, more content, and more friendly overall.

Listening and Storytelling

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Grandparents have learned from experience that you can learn more from listening than from speaking, and they are often excellent storytellers with a lifetime’s worth of tales to tell. UNICEF states that such skills are vital for children to grow into social, well-rounded adults with a valuable appreciation of their own place in history.

Appreciating Nature

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Without smartphones or computer consoles, many older people grew up playing outdoors, developing a deep-rooted love for things like bugs, trees, and wild animals. Taking joy in spending time outdoors and appreciating the beauty of nature is a valuable lesson grandparents can impart, teaching the youth to be adventurous, inspired, and environmentally aware.

Perseverance in Long-Term Relationships

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Bad relationships should never be tolerated, but in our world of six-week celebrity marriages and high divorce rates, the older generation can teach commitment, compromise, and the importance of teamwork. This inspires young people to persevere through “tough times” and not to give up on worthwhile partnerships too easily.

Embracing Diversity

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While not a trait typically associated with elders, many older people have gained wisdom through living in changing times—encountering shifts in social norms, racial equality, and cultural integration. Promoting inclusivity and respect for others, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or background, is a worthwhile lesson for everyone, especially the youth.

Compassion

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The Future Care Group says that mixing generations helps teach younger people empathy and compassion for other living things. Many grandparents are compassionate and involved in charity work like volunteering or community projects. Such acts of kindness will provide an excellent example, prompting younger generations to be more altruistic.

Safeguarding Health

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As grandparents age, they experience a natural decline in health, making them realize how foolhardy certain life choices (like fatty foods, smoking, and excessive alcohol or drugs) can be. This is a valuable lesson for young people who are at an age where they still have the time to make better, healthier life choices.

Adaptability and Open-Mindedness

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Older generations have witnessed technological advancements and social changes. Their ability to adapt and stay open-minded can encourage today’s youth to embrace innovation while preserving core values and fostering a harmonious coexistence between tradition and progress.

Infinite Patience

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Patience is a virtue, and it seems to improve as we age—perhaps because our minds and bodies slow down, we have more free time, and we are less ‘eager’ in general! Learning to approach life’s challenges calmly and patiently can lead to less stress, better mental health, and more rational decision-making—definitely traits worth passing on!

Timeless Values

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Finally, grandparents can teach some good old-fashioned morals and core values to help young people become worthwhile, well-rounded, and happy members of society. We’re talking about things like honesty, integrity, kindness, and humility—the foundations of any well-loved and content individual.

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