Happy Monday! Do you ever forget your role in a younger girl’s life? Do you wonder if it really pays off to invest in them? Well, today’s post is all about embracing age differences and the rewards of interacting with both younger and older ages!
Why I love it…
This is one of my favorite quotes from Dickens. It always encourages me to invest in the lives of those who are younger than me, because Dickens is talking specifically about children. For, in God’s kingdom, children are immensely valued – much more than they are in this world. Think about the little girls or boys in your life who look up to you, because your impact on them, and their impact on you often goes unnoticed.
When you were little
Do you remember when you were little? Who was that older girl that you always looked up to? I was blessed to have many of those mature girls in my life when I was little. Thinking back on it, I realized that it was so beneficial for my own emotional and mental growth – especially since I was the oldest in my family! Whether it was one or many, I am sure that “older girl” in your life was very special to you. She inspired you to dream big, was there to be your friend, and helped you through your mistakes and successes.
Now, you are that older girl. Sometimes it is so easy to forget that being someone to look up to is our duty now. Is there a little girl in your life who will grow up and remember how you were her friend? Maybe it’s a sister, a niece, a cousin, a student, or just a friend. Whatever the connection, stop and think right now: have I acted in a way that I would like her to copy? Have I invested in her life, even though she is little?
Relationships that span generations are rewarding
In our society, age gaps are looked down upon. In school, children are divided by their age – a division that lasts into adulthood since many adults don’t often associate with people their junior or senior in age. People are missing a valuable opportunity. Engaging with a variety of ages is not only beneficial, but also extremely rewarding because it takes your focus off of yourself.
A few months ago, my dance studio was invited to perform at a local nursing home. I remember that day I had been feeling really upset – I had had a difficult and long rehearsal that day and was feeling rather sorry for myself. I obviously did not feel like dancing for anyone. Yet, something happened the moment I watched some of the other classes perform for the home’s residents. I realized “you know what Elizabeth? It is not all about you!” My troubles were suddenly very insignificant compared to those of the sick and elderly. Performing for them had given me a new perspective – one that I probably would’ve never grasped had I not interacted with a different age group.
I am also reminded of a group of little girls at my dance studio. It is always so refreshing for me to be with them, because they are so innocent. They never judge you based on what you look like, what you have accomplished, or what you are wearing – they judge you by your actions. Being loved by a little girl is one of the best feelings in the world because, despite her age, she loves you for who you are. As Dickens puts it, they are “fresh from God” – pure, innocent, and trusting.
Your sisters are those “little girls”, too
Before I end, I would like to encourage you all on one more point: sisters. I know that sometimes it is easier to pay more attention to little girls who aren’t related to you. Sometimes, it is very difficult to cultivate a strong and loving relationship with your sisters, because, as someone once described it, your friend relationships are just a sprint, but your family relationships are a marathon. But, don’t underestimate your impact on your own sisters!
Even though they might act like they don’t respect you, deep down they really do. That is why they copy your every movement, preference, and word – they admire you. If you are the oldest in your family like I am, it might be hard to know how you should relate with them since you don’t have an older sibling. To that I say: act how you would want that “older girl” in your childhood to act towards you. And I am sure that we have all had one of those in our lives!
Take some time this week to help your relationships with different ages flourish and blossom. Often, your relationships with those who are younger will impact them more than you will ever know. Don’t underestimate them! Also remember that the relationship goes both ways. Yes, you impact them, but they also impact you. Their innocence and purity is often such an inspiration, and their trust can be one of your biggest motivators.
Don’t forget that even when you feel like giving up, there is always that little girl that says “I want to be like her someday” – do it for her.