In his book, Future Shock (1970), Alvin Toffler described some of the psychological challenges in trying to adjust to the rapid pace of change in our society. Most of us can relate to the impact on people’s lives simply from our Smartphones. Older technology such as typewriters, maps, encyclopedias, fax machines, adding machines, cameras, alarm clocks, cassette tapes, VCR’s, CD’s, remote control units, stereos, photo albums, hardcover and paperback books, and even flashlights, are nearly obsolete!
How should this rapid change impact those of us who are older? In reality, it’s a unique opportunity. Age brings wisdom we can pass on to the younger generation. Rather than being threatened by these changes, we can model adjustments that are in harmony with the never changing values in Scripture.
For me personally, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to prepare the first ever multi-media Study Bible. This has become possible because of QR code technology and YouTube. Think about it! This technology makes it possible for people anywhere in the world who have an Internet connection to download these videos. I’m deeply indebted for this technology and also humbled!
But this also gives me an opportunity to tap into the younger generation. This is the way they learn. Using Smartphones, iPads, and computers to connect to content using QR code technology is as much a part of their lives as when we learned to turn on the radio.
From my experience with the younger generation, including my own children and grandchildren, I know that it’s more difficult for them to compare one generation with another. Having lived fewer years, their perspectives are shorter and narrower. Consequently, they have fewer points of reference from which to draw meaningful conclusions. That’s why it’s so important for those of us who are older to develop relationships with the younger generation—which definitely includes being aware of their technology and the way they learn.
The Old Testament instructs us to number our days (Psalm 90:12) because He wants us to appreciate the importance and value of time. In the New Testament Paul encouraged Christ followers to “make the most of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16 HCSB). This is great advice for all generations—including those of us who are octogenarians and who have this special blessing of a long life.
(Note: for further study of this important topic, I encourage you to refer to my Life Essentials Study Bible, Principle #1 in Ezekiel, p. 1074. The title of the principle is “Age and Experience.” After my brief commentary is the “Reflection and Response” question: In what ways should chronological age help us become more effective leaders?