Learning from the Elder Wisdom Circle

Older Americans are sharing insights from their real life stories with seekers of all ages.

by Doug Snyder — Posted on Apr 8, 2011

I always love hearing advice and wisdom from my grandmother.

She has told me stories about the Great Depression and how she and my grandpa made the most of it, having fun travelling all over the country, getting low-paying odd jobs to support themselves. These stories really inspire me to enjoy life, no matter what the circumstances, especially during our current recession.

I first heard about the Elder Wisdom Circle thanks to a March 2007 Guideposts story. I asked for advice from the Elder Wisdom Circle not long after that. They gave me marvelous words of wisdom.

The Elder Wisdom Circle provides free and confidential advice on a broad range of topics. Online advice seekers from all over the world are paired with a network of seniors who share their knowledge and insight. Most seeking advice are 15 to 35 years old, but people of any age can request advice on most any topic and will receive a personalized e-mail response.

Based in the San Francisco area, the Elder Wisdom Circle has more than 600 elders (aged 60 to 105) across North America. They are one of the largest providers of personal advice, with hundreds of thousands of readers.

But it is not just the youngsters who are benefitting from this organization. Everyone wins, because while younger people receive wonderful, sagely advice, the elders are empowered by helping to change the way society views seniors in America. They do not need to be seen as "surplus"; they prove just how useful and necessary their advice can be at any age, for as long as they live!

Here is one example of a question and answer from their book The Elder Wisdom Circle Guide for a Meaningful Life: Seniors Across America Offer Advice to the Next Generations:

What must you do to become wise?
1) Listen twice as much as you talk. Remember, even the simplest people can teach us something. Be a "sponge."
2) Always look at failure as a wonderful chance to learn. Making mistakes can make you very wise if you learn from them.
3) Believe very strongly that the most important thing in life is love. Anger and hate close any path to becoming wise.
4) Know that there are some things in life that will never be understood; accept that.
5) Be curious about everything. When we were small children, nothing missed our curiosity. Try to rekindle and keep that curiosity. Love and respect truth in the process.
6) Work at developing a good value system and a moral conscience that serves you well. Never compromise them.
7) Remember: The path to wisdom never ends, and the person who believes he is wise probably is not even on the path.

Walter Cronkite—another elder long revered for his wisdom—once said, "It is heartening to know that when young people seek sage advice these days, many are turning to the Elder Wisdom Circle. I continue to be impressed by the candor and insight of these Elders."

If you are in need of advice, you’re sure to find a sage piece of knowledgefrom one of these wise elders.

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