A Call to My Elders—WTF?

Via Jayson Gaddis
on Jul 10, 2012
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photo by Ed Fell

Dear elders,

WTF, where are you?

Why are we not in dialogue more and how come I get the feeling that you’re sitting on your ass somewhere not caring about my generation? What is my part in our disconnection?

When I make it about me, I wonder what I’ve done to offend you. Did I piss you off? Have I been too arrogant to listen to you? Are you only willing to show up if I pay you?

When I make it about you, I judge you are the arrogant one. I have noticed that you show up only when:

A.) I treat you with blind respect.

B.) I don’t confront you on anything, and

C.) I keep myself in the role of student and you in the role of wise, expert.

When I drop my stories and projections, I am simply hurt. At the end of the day, I am hurt by your absence and I long for your presence in my life.

In my judgment, you keep perpetuating the “old guard” mentality. The old guard  means that our relationship only works when you are the “sage on the stage” and I remain the student.

Here’s how I’m impacted when you perpetuate the old guard approach:

  • >>I lose respect for you.
  • >>I lost trust in you.
  • >>I feel talked down to.
  • >>I feel ignored, abandoned, rejected and unseen.
  • >>I lose interest in connecting with you and your generation.
  • >>My stories about your “old guard way” get affirmed.

“Elders and mentors have an irreplaceable function in the life of any community. Without them, the young are lost—their overflowing energies are wasted in useless pursuits. In the absence of elders, the impetuosity of youth becomes the slow death of the community.”

~ Maladoma Some

In my own life, time and time again, I have felt abandoned by you. When I tried to confront you, I felt shamed and blown off. When I called you out, I was made wrong. Whenever I wanted an equal relationship with you, I felt rejected, abandoned and ignored. Eventually because I wasn’t willing to participate in this painful dynamic, I bailed on our connection.

During this process I was very hurt by your actions. However, looking back I now see that your behavior was very helpful to me. I needed to keep feeling dissed by you so I could get stronger in myself. I needed you to avoid your own shadow, so that I could embrace mine. I also needed to work through my “father wound” thus becoming a solid parent to myself. In the biggest sense, your absence was a real gift to me.

Then, when I became a parent, you were nowhere to be found.

Fortunately for me, in my pain and confusion, I hired one of you (David Cates) to help me through this massive transition.

photo by Joshua Levin

David helped me relax more and get stronger in myself to meet the relentless challenge of parenting two kids while maintaining a vibrant marriage—a huge task for any new parent.

David eventually became a spiritual mentor to me, which was critical as I entered a long, wobbly spiritual crisis (massive appreciation brother!).

So, yes! I finally had an elder show up for me during a very challenging time, but partly because I was ready and I asked. Perhaps this is how it works? I have no idea.

And today, I am learning from another elder Tom Daly as he, ironically, wonders how to be an elder. It’s so inspiring to see an elder not know. Wow. His humility has been a huge teaching to me as we co-facilitate the Boulder Men’s Experience.

And yes, I have high standards. I only want help from conscious, powerful, incredibly mindful, self-aware, spiritually wise elders who surround themselves with folks willing to call them on their bullshit. I want my elders to be human beings, not superhuman or perfect God-like gurus.

Believe me, I’m cool with being a student, even though my ego can get inflated. But I have found that I really, really dig being a student to other teachers and elders willing to be transparent and own their shadows.

It’s a new time and there’s a new way emerging here.

For example, a senior teacher recently came to teach a group in our community and she got schooled. She got schooled because she was bringing her old guard way to a new, young, alive group of people who wanted to drink in the now/new. They didn’t want a lecture from above. They wanted to be met, in the moment with truth about what was going on right now between us

My request?

Meet us right here, right now first; then you can lead me.

Meet me in this very moment with your humanity; then you can teach me. Yes, there is still a place for your amazing teachings and wonderful offerings. Just don’t assume I want your tips and tricks. I might not care about that, but then again, I might. Wait and see with me. Elders like Tom Daly, Ed Fell and David Cates consistently model this type of eldership for me and I want more of you to take notes from them.

Talk about your struggles and challenges please.

Talk about death, old age, sex, fucking, babies, drugs, war and intimacy. Make it personal. Talk openly about whatever keeps you up at night. Show us how to be human in the second-half of life because my culture’s way is a fear-based train wreck. I want real human beings with real issues to lead me and learn from me.

And, even though I’m asking you to engage here, I will no longer expect you to engage. In other words, I want you to show up and, I don’t need you to. Rather than wishing upon a star for what likely won’t happen, I am instead asking myself what kind of elder I want to be. How will I show up differently? I’m watching David, Ed and Tom very closely these days and so appreciating their humility in finding their way as elders.

I want to humbly remind you that contrary to previous generations you’ll need to earn my respect, it’s not given.

Your lack of eldering has perhaps been the most valuable lesson of all—that I don’t need elders in order to live my life.  But man, I sure want you here though, because I imagine my life and my community would be even richer, more expansive, and fuller with your presence. My longing says that I’d feel a lot more held and a whole lot less alone if you were with me on this ride.

photo by Joshua Levin


Finally elders, give me some feedback. What am I doing, and what is my generation doing to contribute to the rift between us? Help me understand. I’m listening.


Jayson Gaddis


Editor: Brianna Bemel


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About Jayson Gaddis

Jayson Gaddis, host of The Smart Couple Podcast , relationship geek and host of the Smart Couple Podcast, is on a mission to teach people the one class they didn’t get in school--”How to do intimate relationships.” He was emotionally constipated for years before relationship failure forced him to master relationships. Now, he’s married to his amazing wife of 8 years and has two beautiful kids. When he doesn’t live and breathe this stuff with his family, he pretty much gets his ass handed to him. Jayson writes his own highly personal blog, and has also written for Integral Life, Digital Romance, The Jungle of Life, Primer Magazine, Recovering Yogi, The Good Men Project. You can find him here: Jayson Gaddis or sign up for a free training here if you are dealing with an emotionally unavailable man like Jayson used to be. You can also become a fan on Facebook here: Jayson Gaddis Fan Page.


38 Responses to “A Call to My Elders—WTF?”

  1. Jayson,

    Great post and I totally agree. I've NEVER had a mentor that I could count on and I've been betrayed by plenty of men in my life. Nothing is established a priori, respect SHOULD be earned. The only thing I'm willing to do is give people the benefit of the doubt — unless or until they prove unworthy of it.

    AND, in most of the men's communities, I'm considered a fucking elder! Feel like a mini-elder at best and that's only because I've been on the planet for more than half a century. Nothing I say or blog about is to be taken seriously or without a few grains of salt. Like they used to say at EST, "don't' believe anything I say."

    That's why I started blogging about it at http://menafterfifty.com, because I'm only barely beginning to have some clue on how to be on this planet and want to share and create community around it. I know I'm a stubborn and a slow learner and I need to create all the help I can get.

    AND, there are some really cool elder groups around, so take heart, if you live long enough, it might just all fall into place.


  2. Ken says:

    Or said less politely:

    Dear Boomers,
    You've had your moment. You are now in our way.

    Thank you,
    Gen X.

  3. Duff says:

    An interesting rant, Jayson.

    "I have noticed that you show up only when:

    A.) I treat you with blind respect.

    B.) I don’t confront you on anything, and

    C.) I keep myself in the role of student and you in the role of wise, expert."

    I have definitely seen a lot of "spiritual teachers" and others in roles of authority playing these status games, and I don't consider people who do this my elders, precisely because they haven't earned my respect.

    If I were an older person who didn't play such games, I imagine I would have been turned off by how you started this article though, for it doesn't appeal to those who are actually respectful, kind, not playing dominance-submission games with students, or always charging for a bit of their "wisdom."

    But overall I resonate with the message. There is no reason someone older and in a position of authority must get my respect, my money, and my adulation.

    Personally I don't necessarily want "my elders" to talk about all the details of their personal lives with me. A little sharing can be nice of course, but too much is too much. I'd rather be peers that can also see things clearly, peers in which one person might have a lot more to learn from the other, but without the power and status games that create a dependence relationship.

  4. Duff says:

    Also, I suspect a lot of "elders" are seemingly missing because we lock them away in old folks homes and retirement communities; we fire them to hire younger, cheaper employees; we leave them in other towns to explore our own individual life goals and education; etc.

  5. Kai says:

    Boss post! Really felt deeply touched and connected by it.

  6. jaysongaddis says:

    ha ha. thank you Adam. thanks for creating the site you did as well. the link didn't work for me. hmm. try again?

  7. jaysongaddis says:

    good points all around Duff. yes, i hear the off puttingness and those ain't the elders i'm talking to. and perhaps it can help them see that their peers have dropped the ball. perhaps it can inspire action and if not, that's okay as I stated in the post.

    Your last point is interesting. I wonder if we agree more than you think. I want to be peers as well, but I also am okay with vast differences and the natural hierarchy that exists. an elder has more life experience than me and that alone is huge, them relating to death more than me is huge. I also feel closer to folks when they disclose who they are. not their story so much as what's currently alive for them that is naked and open. I wonder if context also matters. perhaps if we lived in a traditional community, I couldn't even hang with the level of conversation that is taking place. for example, in the cofan tribe in columbia, the elders stay up late into the night and have their own inner circle discussions to help the community. That's inspiring. I don't feel held in that way.

  8. Lizzy says:

    I feel lucky to have a few important elders in my life. Jim Yensen, my long-time unofficial Buddhist teacher, and I walk together, have tea, garden, and talk life/relationships/work together. He often gives me sage advice, never tells me what to do (though he offers direction), and has always been there for me. As well, Alison Osius, my writing/editing/life mentor for the past 15 years. I wrote my thesis on her (and a few other women in the climbing media), and ever since she has been there for me when some of life's biggest questions (in regards to work/writing) have surfaced. I also have Malcolm Daly, entrepreneur and visionary, who has supported my nonprofit and new business endeavors for nearly a decade. He and his wife have also become good friends, fishing partners, and climbing partners. I feel that I have found elders all along my path, from college to graduate school to starting my various businesses. I specifically sought each of them out because I felt I could learn something from them. And, subsequently, have become good friends with all three. However, I definitely pursued them sort of intensely. I asked Jim how to find a Buddhist teacher once, twice, and then 9 months or so after first asking him, I asked him again, and he said, "Let's meet for coffee." And with Alison, I bugged her, wrote articles for magazines she worked at, and always visit when I'm in Carbondale (her home town). Same with Malcolm, I pursued those relationships. So I think the asking is significant. And then, once they realized I was serious about wanting to learn from them and develop a friendship with them, they let me into their worlds. I am lucky.

  9. Riesah Prock says:

    Here I am considering the question of what is an elder and coming to mind first, surprisingly, is that anyone can be an elder. There are beings among us who carry a very ancient soul and much wisdom even in their young years of life. I have met many older people who seem to lack much consciousness and whom I would not approach as an elder, simply based on years lived. I know I have learned from very young children, by observing them and engaging in their play innocent, yet profound to me. It really depends on what one is seeking and who embodies for you those qualities. Some say little, yet carry much wisdom; others say a lot, but only demonstrate how little they really know.

    Years ago when I was thrown head-long into post menopause, I went searching for an older woman to mentor me. Even though I did find someone I hoped would help, she refused to take on this role with me and I was left to my own devices. A short few years later, when many of my younger friends began this part of the journey in their life, I offered to share with them what I experienced, in the spirit of mentorship and was well-received.

    In years before the 60's women of many generations used to sit together, speaking of all relationships, sharing their experience and so everyone eventually learned from their elders. I was fortunate enough to grow up having my grandmother living with us and learned much just by watching and eventually being invited to share with her in the kitchen. There, conversation turned to many subjects; she was for me a better mother than my mom, because she had no attachment to outcomes with me. She just loved me because I was.

    I think that some of the pissed-offedness that younger people feel originates in this kind of attachment. It is a huge burden to lay on the shoulders of the young: the expectations we may hold for how they turn out; the ego wanting to steal some of that light from the young, whether consciously or not. I can certainly recall how my parents expressed to me that my choices and actions reflected back on whether they were good parents or not. This made no sense to me then and still doesn't.

    Because of the loss of generational dialogue that used to take place, we all need to train one another, in my view. We especially need to be clear what it is we want, what we're prepared to give and take and to hold it as a learning process, a practice that we hone from moment to moment.

    For myself, I always feel honoured when approached for advice, my perspective on issues, whatever. I try never to take it for granted and am humbled when I learn how what I've shared was taken into a person't life and used for good. It is my great delight and joy, as a person who is here to serve for the highest good and benefit of all.

  10. Impressive stuff, Jayson. Thanks for being here.

    Bob W. Associate Publisher
    facebook, twitter, linkedIn

  11. Red Crow says:

    You are asking good questions that for the most part, boomers, who were essentially given a materialistic worldview, did not know to ask. The largely agrarian communities of 100 years ago had a social/family framework that was able to pass on time tested values and morals, appreciation and respect of others, to the new generation. Unfortunately, we have lost that framework in our frenzied "gotta get more, faster" attitudes surrounding our being alive, together. You do not recognize your elders because most of them have foregone the soul qualities that your own heart would be able to recognize and appreciate. Your eyes see them, but to your heart, they are ghosts….empty shells devoid of any of the characteristics that would bring meaning to their (and your) existence. The substantial qualities that you are lonely for in yourself and your elders have been lost, like a flywheel that has lost its momentum, or a battery that has lost its charge. It is good that you feel the void, because there IS a void. If your culture cannot support you, you will have to become your own elder by discovering for yourself, the basic elements of existence that your elders cast aside in their pursuit of the uniform shiny and sensational.
    1. We are already there.
    2. It is more beneficial to be kind than right.
    3. "Community" is whomever is in our space in real now time.
    4. Hold the tension of not knowing, and wait to be shown the light.
    5. We all need each other.
    6. The unseen is as great as the seen.
    When you are able to incorporate these elements into your awareness and existence, not as thoughts, but as examples, your children will have an elder that will offer them equanimity, and a sense of belonging.
    Love to you,
    Red Crow

  12. Aaron says:

    It's http://menafterfifty.com . He accidently included a comma.

    Great post Jayson. I'm a bit younger than you, 25 now, and feel for what you're saying. I'm almost done reading a really great book called Iron John by Robert Bly. Have you read it? Thanks for your posts. Glad I'm on your list.

  13. Well Jayson! You could have called this one A Call to the Sacred Elders…eh? The tone is very much the tone of my piece, a kind of call/poke/earnest heart felt yearning…

    David Cates! Yes….

    He is one of those men out there doing DEEP MASCULINE…..


    Lori Ann

  14. Max Warren says:

    Confrontation done beautifully. I agree with your overall point that we have been left very much to our own devices and trial and error. We don't get on the radar with the older men unless we are ponying up the money for a weekend seminar.

    All men, on some level genuinely long for a seasoned Elder to speak into their lives. My hope and desire is that your post will fuel a constructive dialogue. I hope that the Elders out their can step up and answer your challenge in a real way.

    Bottom line we need each other as men not just as peers but those that can offer that grounded mature energy as well.

    Nicely done bro…..Appreciate your voice and your passion to speak up and ask the hard questions. Please keep it coming and know that you are supported and appreciated.

  15. oh, ps..get ready for Yoga Samurai. 🙂 He will probably tell me it's not about me..and you just might want to duck

  16. WHO are the elder that you address then Jayson…if this lovely rant has a genesis, what is it?

  17. You have given me a lot to think about here Jayson. I'll be 50 by the end of summer. I no more feel like an Elder…no, not quite right…I NO more WANT To be an Elder than the man on the moon. Yet, with my gray hair I'm more and more frequently asked to participate in that type of role when I'm in a group of men. (NOT qualified!) And I'm not 29 anymore either. Since then, 20 years of making tons of mistakes, often the same one more than once. I am a slow learner, and thankfully I do eventually learn!

    Right now I find myself in some weird landscape that neither feels like home nor is uncomfortabl; it's a passage. I do feel fear. Shit is happening…career, finances, expression… or lack of… personal passion, marriage, fatherhood, my body, my mind. Every fucking thing is changing, and not all for the better in my judgment. My most optimistic metaphor is that this is half-time… still have a whole 2 quarters to win this game. Insanity. Yet, I'm not letting go of "winning the game". Mercifully, what winning looks like is slowly becoming something deeper and more connected to me, and everyone and everything around me. This is the coolest part and the piece I trust most through this transition.

    Do I need an Elder as a mentor? Hell yes! Can I serve as an Elder? Maybe and sometimes.

    So many projections and judgments for me on this road…forward and back. My arrogance, his arrogance, my shame, his judgment…all my projections. Sometimes it gets real easy to say screw it, I will go it alone. I've survived this long on my own. Even KNOWING the fallacy of this for me, I can still go there. Fear of rejection, issues of trust.

    In the end maybe it is as simple as being in each other's presence, no words, just presence. One to the other. Vulnerable enough to trust you won't reject me…one to each other.

  18. RevDave says:

    Ok Jayson, you threw down the gauntlet and I'm picking it up. Disclosures: I am 59 and thus one of your "elders", though I hasten to point out that we also have elders of whom we also might ask WTF. There's a "Rev" in front of my name. I earned it through 12 years of study and 33 as a pastor during which I had a few (very few) pastor-mentors and became a mentor/friend/counselor/pastor to any of the guys who wanted one. I have laughed with them, cried with them, drank with them, challenged them, encouraged them, called them out etc. I've never found them to be arrogant and I don't think I've been pissed off by, nor pissed off any of them ( at least not intentionally).
    None of that makes me a saint, by any means, but pretty much a normal guy with as many issues as the next guy. Of all the positive strokes I've gotten in my adult life, the best one has always been that I am approachable. Maybe we who have been wounded develop a bit of radar for the wounds of others; we catch the vibe often earlier and more readily than others.
    Guys my age grew up in the shadow of "the greatest generation"; the one that stopped Hitler and Hirohito. Those who came home raised families in a world restored to some sense of order and most of them did what they saw their dads do–they worked their asses off to provide for their families; they were strong, but often silent and what they thought was strength is now often described as "emotionally unavailable." The world changed when we grew up. Our teachers taught us how to "duck and cover" in case Russia sent an atom bomb. We we reminded "not to look at the flash" as thought that would make a difference. We thought the world was going to end with the Cuban missile crisis; people stopped putting in swimming pools and built bomb shelters instead, stocked with enough food and water so they had a shot at emerging into a brand new, burnt out world–after, of course, they had shot their neighbors who had fled to them for shelter. We came of age during Vietnam; some went to war and never returned; some returned broken in body and spirit; some came back to start their lives as husbands and fathers. Some came home to cries of "baby killer." Some protested and were labelled hippies, freaks, commies. We have raised children, but are worried for their future and the crushing debt run up by incompetent bureaucrats, that they will have to pay. We're in the middle of the sandwich, children on one side, aging parents on the other and we're learning that one can really live too long. And we look at you with a little envy: your youth, your opportunities, and we scratch our heads and wonder how six or more decades could have flown by so quickly. And some of us feel a bit like poor Prince Charles with mama still on the throne and an heir apparent coming up fast and wonder when its our time in the sun. We are embarrassed by assholes who created an economic nightmare that's swallowing up families and putting them out on the street, and then bonused themselves with stimulus money. And we wish we could have done better by you. We hope to pay off our homes so we can leave something to our kids to help them dig themselves out from under a pile of debt. We hope they remember that our generation of guys helped clean the house, cook the meals, changed the diapers, coached the teams; we tried to be fathers that our sons looked up to and that our daughters wanted to find a husband just like dad–only better. I think you're right, you don't "need" us, but most of us would very much like to be "wanted." We're guys just like you, only older, grayer, balder. We look at you and see the young men we were. We hope you look at us and see the "elders" you'd like to be. So, here's the promise and the challenge: Men like me won't abandon men like you; we'll offer and opinion when asked; we'll keep unwanted/unneeded ones to ourselves. We won't judge you; We'll actually like you/ love you/ support you. We won't talk down to you and we don't expect any more respect than what one man has a right to expect from another. The challenge: ask! Ask whatever you want; keep asking if we don't understand the question. I'm showing up, Jayson. So are a lot of guys like me. Thanks for asking. Thanks for listening.

  19. Todd says:

    …and in that connection is where active communication between generations may begin.

  20. jaysongaddis says:

    love your site. wow. where have you been? 🙂 will include a link on my site to yours. thank you.

  21. jaysongaddis says:

    RedCrow. powerful response. thank you for that brother. I am touched and inspired.

  22. jaysongaddis says:

    Thank you Max and thanks for the nudge. Yes, perhaps the dialogue can begin or continue. 🙂

  23. jaysongaddis says:

    great! waiting….

  24. ryan says:

    Hey Aaron I am in the middle of Iron John as well , its really answering a lot of questions about why I am the way I am and I feel the same.I have never had a older male role model to look up to and bond with.I love my dad but he has never been that present in my life even though we lived under the same roof for 17 years…..I am realising there is a lot of just young men that are in the same situation..i hope that i will find a role model one day or maybe I will only get the chance to be the role model.

  25. Jason,
    Another great article. So much of what is lacking in our society can be dealt with and even cured with the engagement of men mentoring other men. It is a sad state of affairs that we all have bought in to the self indulgent lifestyle to varying degrees. All males have these questions: who am I? do I measure up? who do I turn to for guidance? am I really a man?
    We all need an elder to guide us to finding these answers.

  26. Disequilibrium says:

    Jayson, with all due respect to your feelings and experiences, the unifying thread of your message seems to be this:

    "I want someone to show me how to be a better me, and I'm pissed that no one is doing it the way I want."

    I suspect most people can relate to that sentiment in some way. Setting ground rules, making demands, and blowing off steam from frustrations may all have their valid moments in my life, but they are no substitute for what, in the end, requires giving up all conditions and looking deeply into myself. I can't learn about what is actually there (as truth in the world and in myself) if I try to define what it is and what I can learn about it before I even begin to approach it. Only I can work on myself, with or without the support of elders and gurus. Conditions and generalities only obscure the path, even though it is right before me at all times.

    Add to that that no one has all of the answers to every question I can come up with. I have met people of all different ages, and they are all over the map in terms of stages of personal or spiritual development. Age is not a given mark of anything other than age. Sure, mentors and guides can speed up the learning process when the circumstances are right, but ultimately it is no one else's responsibility–no one else's!–to make my realization and evolution happen to me or for me. But interestingly, having faith and trust and confidence in myself helps me to have faith and trust and confidence in others, and opens me to learn even more.

    What is there to be learned does not in any way depend on my liking/not liking it, wanting/not wanting it, or seeing/not seeing it. Rather, my learning is severely affected by all of these factors and many others. But, I have the choice to shut up. I can literally choose to embark on a path of listening more than speaking. Silence is golden for a reason. It points to the space where all potential lies. There is only one truth, not yours and mine or ours and theirs. Just the one, and we're all in it.

    Blessings and best wishes in your ongoing search…

  27. jaysongaddis says:


    That doesn't fit for me. If you read the post, it's pretty clear. I don't "need" anyone to show me how. And, I have no interest in being "better." I do desire to keep deepening into who i already am. And, badass elders would only help that process, but I don't need them. And, you're right on. AT the end of the day, my experience is my guru, period. Thanks for your valuable perspective here.

  28. jaysongaddis says:

    Awesome RevDave. thank you, thank you. wow. you helped me get your perspective a bit more through your share here. Very helpful indeed. I need reminders about your struggle, your life, your wins and loses and your conditioning. I really appreciate how you answered the call here. And, I'll do my part and ask. I'll take an interest in you and your tribe. I have worked through a lot of hurt and rage to be willing to listen now and be genuinely interested in you. The trick also with my generation is that they are not necessarily any better at asking for help. Most men are still trained to suck it up and toughen up and that asking for help from trusted older men is weak, feminine or gay. So, I applaud your readiness and answering the call and pray that more younger men are willing to seek you out.

  29. jaysongaddis says:

    Nice Todd. love it. thanks for the humor, humility, and vulnerability here. I like the suggestion of just being with one another. ahhhh. I felt very relaxed when I read that part. deep respect, J

  30. jaysongaddis says:

    Thank you Riesah. I so resonnate with your comment "we all need to train one another." And yes, great reminder that children, my own and others, are elders/teachers and even gurus. In fact, I learn more from my kids than anyone else. wow. I simply know we can be and feel more connected to each other. it's in our cells, our DNA.

  31. Eric says:

    Yes, listening is important, but what if no one is saying anything of value–just giving us talking points & platitudes?
    Who is living their truth of evolutionary thinking and being? Props to RevDave for stepping up!!! But from what I see, he's the exception.

    So what is "evolution" today?
    as Krishnamurti said, "truth is a pathless land".
    I like what Jayson says about "my experience is my guru–period."
    How can we be of service while we are still learning?

    I'd say the world's at a critical mass right now, the dominant paradigm has treated the planet and people as disposable resources for a long, long time. How do we change this? How does THIS evolve?
    Listening, contemplating, asking, talking and acting decisively–they ALL have their place.
    ::thank you::

  32. Boysen says:

    Hey Jayson – Nice. I appreciate the clarity, I appreciate the longing, I resonate with many of the judgments and feelings. There is a thread that connects those three men you mention. I know you already know what it is: the ManKind Project. And my experience in MKP has brought many other incredible (and NOT PERFECT) Elders into my life. The three men you mention are all kick-ass examples of conscious eldering … and as you said with Tom, there is often a healthy 'not knowing' in their brilliance. The ManKind Project has a conscious curriculum process for Elders to step gracefully into a more powerful place as Elders – and it seems to be working pretty well.

    I look forward to being in circle with you again one day.

  33. Mark says:

    Hi Jayson

    I have received your emails for years and watched you grow. I think you have interesting and useful perspectives. I am 60 years old. I have raised 4 children mostly by myself. I am now enjoying retirement. I have come to the conclusion that wisdom is more accessible internally than it is externally. All life is one. Everyone I meet is my mentor and I am a mentor to everyone I meet. When I was younger I had Marxist tendencies. Change the world by changing others. Now I have more Buddhist tendencies. Change the world by changing me.

  34. Herky Cutler says:

    Greetings Jayson!

    Really enjoyed this blog! I've done a bunch of work recently on looking at generational differences and issues with respect to the workplace and in education, and I couldn't agree with you more! I also do keynotes on Gen Y In The Workplace and I am in fact, in Little Rock, AR right now, having just spoken at a career development conference.

    Whatever "negative" traits younger generations have, they certainly didn't invent them on their own, they got them from us! The same people who feel they are "entitled" to a retirement (whatever the heck that is!) are telling young generations that they are fed up with them thinking they are entitled to anything!

    And the other thing I want to mention here is what I have learned about myself in terms of looking at my pride, ego and fear, whenever I am feeling negative about something or someone in my life. It's usually my issue and anyone else's.

    When I apply this principle to working with young people, I almost always find that if what they are doing is bugging me, it's because of one of those 3 things. We need to support young people, facilitate their growth in whatever way we can, offer resources and help when they ask, and apart from that, get the f…… out of their way!

    Keep up the great work!


  35. […] self actualize without proper guidance or ongoing experiences that draw us further into our center. Elders and mentors play a key role here, as can spirituality and solid parenting (sorry folks, religion […]

  36. […] self actualize without proper guidance or ongoing experiences that draw us further into our center. Elders and mentors play a key role here, as can spirituality and solid parenting (sorry folks, religion […]