From an early age, we are taught to dress nicely, use good posture, speak clearly, and use our best manners because…
First impressions last forever.
This would be especially true on the first day of school, going for a job interview, or starting the first day of work.
I’ve been working with aging adults for a number of years, which has led me to believe there are times when our first impressions need to be discarded and rejected.
As a fitness instructor for seniors, I was sometimes surprised at how difficult it was initially for some of my students to follow my lead during class and mirror my physical movements, yet I soon realized that these same adults were often quick-witted, highly intelligent and delightful people to have conversations with after class. I wouldn’t have guessed this to be true!
By creating a monthly lunch outing for the class, our social experience was enhanced during our fitness class, as well.
Social time with my senior students allowed me to better appreciate and understand my older friends!
I learned that their backgrounds were sometimes surprising and fascinating.
A petite woman with disheveled hair, wearing an oversized sweatshirt and struggling to remember her right from her left while exercising was one of the most highly educated and brightest persons in the group.
A meek-looking gentleman with an extremely kyphotic curve to his spine, which caused him to look up to someone, rather than looking across to them, had been an incredibly powerful educator in his working years, and conversation with him was an immense pleasure for me.
I now challenge your judgment of what you initially see in an older adult.
Take the time to engage in conversation with an elderly person. Allow them to amaze you with their wealth of information, humor, and insights!
When is the last time you made a point to communicate with someone over 70, 80 or 90 years old?
Have you ever had a surprising experience talking with an older adult about his or her past?