You Can’t Put an Old Head on Young Shoulders

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My grandmother used to quote this often to me.  She was such a wise woman, born way before her time.  I would love to have the opportunity, at the age I am today, to sit and talk with her.  She is the one behind me and much of my work and writing.  Her wisdom guides me often today from the other side.  Her words from my childhood still echo in my head from long ago.

‘You Can’t Put an Old Head on Young Shoulders’ is an old Gaelic saying (proverb) and it is no wonder so many of her sayings came from there originally.  Many of these old sayings give us some idea of how these people thought about things such as the qualities of generosity and humility and the company of others. On the other hand, boasting and stinginess were, and still are, frowned upon at best. Nonetheless, there was great understanding shown to the weaknesses and faults of people.  And that still holds true in the Gaelic culture today.

Wisdom is the gift of time and experience.  The older I get, the more I see and understand how impossible it is to expect someone to have insights way before their time or age.   Maturity comes as we age, as a result of the experiences we have had and without these we stay stuck where we are.

Related: “Conscious Wisdom”

There are people who I know today, who are grown adults, who still have not matured in their own emotional health.  I meet people who as young children were marked emotionally by things that happened in their lives that they have not been able to move on from, thus becoming the victim of their past.

And then sometimes we see or hear people who have ‘old heads on young shoulders’ (similar to the idiom ‘wise beyond their years’) and we marvel at the wisdom that comes from such a short life experience.  At times children will come out with expressions or information that is astounding, which leaves one wondering where that came from as they had not had the experience to have such depth.  They act older and wiser, and sometimes have a much older disposition from their own peer group, which tends to match up with their growth in time.

We often hear said ‘if only we knew, when we were young, what we know now, how different our life would be.’  I wonder.  If we knew then our life would have been different and our lessons would not have been the same.  We have come into this life to learn certain things which is dependent on the type of learner we are.  Some of us are slower than others to get the message and some get it fast.

I believe that dependent on the senses that are strongest in us, we get our lessons using the ones that are there for us.  I am personally an experiential learner, which means I have to do it, feel it and understand it to learn the lesson or the skill.  I am not auditory so I do not expect to learn that way.

The three basic styles that have been talked about for many years now are Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic (touch and movement-orientated).  As the digital age has come about we now find that there is a fourth sensory style of digital learning which brings us into another form of understanding our younger age groups called Auditory Digital.

Do you understand your own sense strength?  This can be quite life changing for people to understand if this is a new concept.  We need to communicate and understand that everyone communicates from their own sense style, which means unless we know something of the style we may interpret incorrectly the person and what they want or need. The five main senses we talk about are seeing, hearing, feeling, touch, smell and taste.  Intuition comes in as a sixth sense.

As adults we need not to expect a young person to have the wisdom and or maturity associated with older people even though at times we are surprised by the youth of today who sometimes think and talk well beyond their years.

We often hear someone refer to a person as an ‘old soul’ which also refers to them appearing older and more knowledgeable, with greater wisdom from their own age group.  It is believe by many that certain children are unusually mature because they have somehow retained maturity learned from past lives.

Related: “Finding Our Own Innate Wisdom”

We can reverse the saying to a ‘young head on old shoulders’ which would mean that someone is still mentally astute, despite being older in years.  Sometimes we say that someone who is older is ‘young at heart’ meaning that they have the ability to see things from a younger perspective and live a life similar to the younger age group.

So, if you are blessed enough to meet a young person who has the disposition of someone much older enjoy their perception on life as it can be quite refreshing as they see things from their younger/older perspective.  The same goes for someone who is of mature age but show that they prefer to be with those of a younger age group who tend to stimulate them and their thoughts to keep themselves informed, mentally active and alive.


Jennie is available for one-on-one sessions via Skype or in person.
For more information email her at jennie@jenniegorman.com.au

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