Elders matter. Living Ways is devoted to increasing awareness of the role of elders. Although “elder” may to some be correlated with being a “senior”, meaning one with advanced age, Living Ways differentiates the two and strives to support “eldership.” As role models recognized for their wisdom, humility, and experience, “elders” have the ability to listen, support and guide the people, particularly children and youth.
In a culture that devalues and frequently wants to deny aging, the role of elder is becoming obliterated in western society. In a society that fears aging, people of advanced age may feel they are a burden versus a gift. In most traditional cultures, “an elder is one acknowledged for not only being older but has also reached a state of maturity and wisdom…the old and the elder are the most revered members of the community and are its greatest preservers and nurturers.” (Malidoma Somé).
In a world fraught with challenges, we need elders. Of particular interest to Living Ways is the wisdom of “traditional elders.” In July 2007, Nelson Mandela brought together a group of independent leaders to use their collective experience and influence for peace, justice and human rights worldwide. He introduced them by saying “… with their experience, and their profound commitment to building a better world- let us call them global Elders.” They support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict and inspire hope where there is despair. (www.theelders.org)
Growing old is a paradox; while “physical strength wanes, spiritual strength blossoms, petal by petal” (Marion Woodman). Living Ways seeks to support this spiritual strength and provide access to it through a variety of mechanisms. Enabling opportunities for those with a lifetime of experience share their wisdom is important to us. Living Ways is creating an eldership platform enabling their stories and messages to be shared widely to all who seek their guidance and wisdom.
To Find out more about our projects visit our Wisdom Of Elders Project.