Age to Age: What Boomers and Millennials Can Learn from Each Other

Age to Age: What Boomers and Millennials Can Learn from Each Other

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Recently, my incredible wife turned sixty. She’s a year older than I am (I think that makes her a cougar!), and even more beautiful to me than the day I first met her in Ms. Nute’s high school choir class in 1973. We’ve been a couple for over forty-two years and celebrate our forty-first wedding anniversary in just a few weeks.

If you’re young, like under thirty, you think sixty years of life and forty-plus years of marriage is a looooong time. In reality, it’s just a grain of sand on the beach of eternity.

If you’re old(er), like over fifty, you know how weird it is to look at the face in the mirror and wonder, when did I become a senior citizen?

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Let me make some observations about age for both the young and the not-so-young.

If you’re young . . .

  • Live in the present. Months turn into decades before you know it, so savor the moments you have right now. Don’t waste the great gift of time. In fact, don’t wait until you’re old to live on purpose. “Bucket lists” are common among the elderly primarily because they’ve waited too long to take risks and to make every moment count.

  • Plan for the future. Living an abundant life of purpose and living fully in the moment, don’t mean you live without a view to the future. Just the opposite, in fact. Yes, be present today, but live prepared for the future because it will be here sooner than you think.

  • Stop throwing boomers under the bus. Sure, you may be better educated, and you have more facts and information jammed into your skull than your parents or grandparents do. Yup, you are hip (is that word still used?), and technologically savvy, and you have nice hair. However, there is no substitute for experience. The seniors in your life have learned a lot of lessons, some the hard way; glean from their knowledge. Listen more, and ask for their wisdom when you need it even if you don’t think you do.

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If you’re old(er) . . .

  • Stop living in the past. Okay, you’ve lived a long and productive life, but it’s kind of sad if the only thing you ever celebrate are your past experiences. Nobody under thirty cares about the impressive risk you took that paid off back in 1970 if you’re not taking any risks today. The problem with being old is that we stop being active (and we watch too much reality TV). Don’t go there. In fact, people will care far more about your past when they see you’re doing far more than just talking about the good ‘ole days from the comfort of your Lazy-Boy. Engage. Live. Take some new risks. You ain’t dead yet!

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  • Accept your limitations. You’re never going to run a four-minute mile (or maybe even a ten-minute mile!). Your memory might be fuzzy at times. You’ve got a potbelly, and you sag. So what? Wasting time and energy worrying about the inevitable is . . . well, it’s a waste, and you don’t have time to squander. Things change, our bodies change; in fact, little stays the same over the years. It’s okay. Take a deep breath and get over it.

  • Stop throwing millennials under the bus. Yes, they’re cocky at times, but so were you at their age. Yup, they think they know more about life than they do; so did you once upon a time. Sure, they were raised in a world in which everybody has an equally correct opinion (which is silly because everybody can’t be right). But millennials can teach you a thing or two about compassion. They are famous for selfless service to those in need. And the young do know more than we sometimes give them credit for, so listen more and ask for their advice even if you don’t think you need it—because you do.

Listen

As a pastor, I value both the old and the young (and all those in between). I want my church to be multi-generational because we are incomplete without all generations at the table.

Even when it’s challenging, we need each other, so let’s learn from each other and play nice.

The glory of young men is their strength, 

gray hair the splendor of the old.

Proverbs 20:29 (NIV)

Like what you’ve read here? Looking for your next read? Check out my books on Amazon.

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14 Responses to Age to Age: What Boomers and Millennials Can Learn from Each Other

  1. Nice read Kurt … the thing I’m working on the most is the “Listen” part.

    BTW … nice pic of one of my favorite guitar players.

  2. Great blog Kurt. I will be praying for you. I hope when the time is right you can regale us of your considerable blogging wit and wisdom. Thank you

  3. Be praying for you as you complete your books. Will miss your blog posts! I always look forward to reading them. Such honesty and wisdom. God bless!

  4. Just read your blog to Tim. We appreciate your insight and wisdom! Looking forward to your new books. It’s SO gratifying to see God using you and Laura in multiple ways in the kingdom. 🙂

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SEX GONE WRONG! (The Reasons, the Costs, and the Keys to Avoiding Catastrophe)

SEX GONE WRONG! (The Reasons, the Costs, and the Keys to Avoiding Catastrophe)

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Dale (not his real name) was in my office, and through sobs of despair and shame, he said, “I don’t know what happened or why, but I cheated on my wife, and now she’s found out and is leaving me.”

I wish I could tell you confessions like that are rare. They’re not.

The question I want you to consider with me is this: Is illicit sex worth it?

In particular, are adultery and pornography worth the cost?

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On a regular basis, I teach that sex is a gift from God, and it is. Regardless of the current level of satisfaction in your marriage, sex is a blessing from the Creator. He wants you to experience loving, creative, and exciting sex with your spouse. That’s God’s plan, and after over forty years of marriage, I can tell you from firsthand experience—it’s awesome when His plan comes together.

Few want to hear this, and even fewer believe it nowadays, but illicit sex outside of your marriage, including adultery and pornography, are costly. Tragically, we humans tend to focus on the “fringe benefits” of immorality rather than the high cost of our infidelities.

According to researchers:

  • 41% of marriages include either physical or emotional infidelity by one or both spouses.

  • 22% of married men and 14% of married women have strayed at least once during their married lives.

  • 74% of men and 68% of women say they would have an affair if they knew they would never be caught.

  • Over 30,000 people are viewing porn every second of every day.

Apparently, unfaithfulness is a relatively common issue, and immorality is far too widespread.

I’ve written about this topic before (find the article here at Charisma News), but let’s take a deeper look.

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Why do so many fail?

There are many reasons, but here are some:

  • Sexual boredom (we think the grass is greener elsewhere, and that sex outside of our marriage will be better).

  • Unmet sexual and emotional needs in our current relationship.

  • The love of the chase.

  • The thrill of conquest.

  • Insecurities about our physical and sexual desirability.

  • The pleasure of sin (though momentary and fleeting).

  • Addiction to a feeling rather than commitment to a covenant.

  • Fantasies that we believe are better than our reality.

There may be additional reasons why some spouses wander, but perhaps the biggest reason is that we haven’t considered the high cost of our forbidden sexual exploits.

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The costs of an affair that we forget or choose to ignore:

  • Damaged or lost relationships with your friends, children, and extended family.

  • Severe financial impact due to divorce.

  • Loss of your God-given mission and purpose in life.

  • Emotional damage and lost joy.

  • Loss of respect for yourself and by others.

  • Potential physical illnesses (STDs are still rampant).

A strong motivator toward moral purity is weighing the costs of moral failure. Ask anyone who’s been down that disastrous road and they will tell you, “It’s not worth it.”

In fact, many years ago, I had one guy tell me quite bluntly, “When it’s all said and done, an orgasm is just an orgasm, and my moral failure cost me just about everything I truly value.”

Wow.

We all know that drinking poison will kill us; we are aware of the cost of that irrational act. However, we foolishly toy with adultery or pornography thinking no harm will come, but it does.

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Someone recently asked me, “Do you ever struggle with temptation?”

Without hesitation, I said, “I’m a male and I’m breathing. Of course, I’m tempted. But temptation isn’t the problem. Jesus was tempted in every way I am. The sin occurs if and when I stop resisting and give in.”

So what can we do?

As a husband or a wife, what steps can you take to help you delight in the spouse of your youth and to help you stay true?

  • Flee sexual immorality. Don’t linger or dawdle. Run from temptation! Stop reading the trashy romance novels. Turn off the TV programs that stir unholy desires.

  • Have the long view. What will your failure or unfaithfulness mean to you and your family in the years and decades to come?

  • Install accountability software and filters on your computer and smartphone.

  • Count the cost and imagine the worst not the best if you fail. (This should be sobering.)

  • Ask godly friends to support you in the battle and to hold you accountable.

  • Establish and maintain wise and holy boundaries. (For example, never be completely alone with an unrelated member of the opposite sex. It’s impossible to commit adultery if you practice this one relationship rule.)

  • Walk in the light and the power of the Spirit.

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In hundreds (and maybe thousands) of conversations over my many years of life, it’s become clear to me that we all wrestle with the flesh. Frankly, every one of us is just one bad decision away from disaster. You’re kidding yourself if you think you’re beyond the potential for a moral fiasco.

Not now. Not in this corrupt world. Not on this side of eternity.

But the good news is God is faithful, and He will always make a way of escape for you.

You just have to take the God-given off ramp.

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“No temptation has overtaken you

except what is common to mankind.

And God is faithful;

he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

But when you are tempted,

he will also provide a way out

so that you can endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

Want to read more about marriage? Check out my books on Amazon.

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How Email, Texting, and Facebook Messenger Might Be Damaging Your Relationships

How Email, Texting, and Facebook Messenger Might Be Damaging Your Relationships
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We live in a digital world, and apparently we like to communicate electronically. A lot. I’m not against texting or emailing (I use both every day), but I am concerned that it’s become the primary way of communicating our thoughts and feelings.

Too many have forgotten how to practice the art of face-to-face dialog, and it’s hurting our relationships.

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According to the nerds who research this kind of stuff, there are well over 100 billion emails sent and received each and every day worldwide, and 8.3 trillion text messages sent every year. That’s almost 23 billion messages per day (Portio Research).

This is not a rant about texting while driving into a ditch. And I’m not going to complain about spam (when grilled with eggs, I actually like it).

Nope.

This post is about how digital communication can harm your relationships because it’s a vastly inferior way to communicate your emotions, opinions, or your state of mind.

To begin with, body language and tone are a huge part of effective communication. Obviously, even if you use the vast array of emoticons, it’s still difficult to accurately convey feelings via a 140-character text or even a lengthy email. Frankly, most of us (myself included) aren’t good enough as writers to depend solely on our writing ability as the primary means of sharing our hearts.

And the eyes truly are the window to the soul, but when you write a text or email, no one can see into your inner person. There is something powerful about eye-to-eye contact with another human. Texts and email lack the potential for personal or heartfelt interaction.

2

On a more technical point, did you know that digital things do get lost in space? Texts, emails, and Facebook messages are not certified mail. There is no guarantee from anyone, including Google or Yahoo, that your messages always will be delivered. (Think I’m wrong? Check out this discussion forum site and you’ll see it’s a growing problem.) So if what you wrote in an email is important, I wouldn’t recommend it as your only or even your primary means of communication.

This past weekend I sent an urgent email to a friend. I’ve sent him emails many times before to the same email address. I asked him to respond just to make sure he got it. He didn’t get it, and the email never got returned to me as undeliverable. It didn’t go to his Spam file either (he checked); it did not get delivered even though it was in my sent folder. It happens. Imagine what could have happened if I had assumed he’d gotten the email.

I found out recently that a couple left our church because they were offended that I never replied to an email they sent me. I assure you, I never received it. How sad that they made a life changing decision because they presumed I had.

Let me say it again; email is NOT certified mail. So if your message is important, you should follow it up with a call or, better yet, a face-to-face conversation (what a concept).

3

Speaking of Facebook, I discovered yesterday that Facebook can filter your messages. Like most mail servers, Facebook can decide if a message is spam (even if it’s from a friend). Unless you go to your “filtered file” (good luck finding it), you’ll fail to see stuff that you may not want to miss.

I had over forty messages in my filtered file, and many of them were from people who now probably think I’m a jerk for never replying. (Find out more here about this Facebook practice.) I love Facebook, but I’m not a fan of Messenger. Where’s that angry face emoji?

Here’s my point: Electronic messaging, in all its various forms, works well for communicating facts and general information. However, it is sorely lacking when it comes to expressing your thoughts and feelings in a relationship, and delivery is never guaranteed.

If what you want to say matters, say it, don’t send it. It’s better to pick up the phone or sit down for a chat over coffee.

Enough said.

4

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6 Responses to How Email, Texting, and Facebook Messenger Might Be Damaging Your Relationships

  1. I’ve been saying this for a long time. How does one show love or sadness through texting. How does one show caring or how do you hug a person through texting? You can’t show emotions through texting, and that is part of communication. And, prayer just isn’t the same written as it is spoken. Something tells me, God prefers the spoken along with the emotions. Thanks Kurt. God bless.

  2. This is double edged. Ever since the 80’s when Sony introduced the Walkman we’ve began a tight daily interaction with these electronic devices. To begin with it isolated everyone, headphones, hand held games acted as barriers. Now we’re at a level of hyper-connected/communicating. How many times will we call at the grocery store, “what do we need” rather than making a list or talking about it before?
    My parents use to sit down everyday to catch up on the day’s activities. Now, if I don’t hear from my wife in 4 hours I begin to wonder if there is a problem.
    But you are dead on, sitting down for coffee will communicate far deeper than any use of text, email or even facetime!

    • I don’t think there are “many” that get lost, but some do (or they end up in a Spam file and we never see them). Of course, lost or not, my major point is that IF it’s matters, SAY it, don’t send it! Love and appreciate you.

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How to Practice the Art of Authenticity (What it looks like to live without secrets!)

How to Practice the Art of Authenticity (What it looks like to live without secrets!)
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Last weekend I sat in an airport not so patiently waiting to catch a flight home. Across from me sat a young couple, and they were having a relatively quiet but heated argument about something very personal. Everyone within ten feet knew everything about the reason they were fighting.

I was uncomfortable and a bit embarrassed, so I moved.

Though I applaud transparency, there is a time and place for everything, and that couple’s intense conversation should have taken place behind closed doors and probably with a counselor present. Transparency is good, but public fighting is not.

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Last week, I introduced the value of living without secrets and in transparency with others. The main idea was to stop hiding behind a veil of perfection.

I suggested that transparency is good for us because it liberates us and enhances our relationships. I also submitted that the pathway to transparency is a humble and contrite heart.

Typically, we hide because of pride or fear. We’re too egotistical to admit that we don’t always have our act together. Or we’re too afraid of rejection or the wrath of others if we’re ever to be found out.

But once we get beyond the barriers, how do you and I go about being transparent? What are the mechanics of living without secrets?

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Let’s unpack some essentials that will help you practice the art of authenticity and transparency.

To begin with, being transparent doesn’t mean you tell everybody everything. But living without secrets means there is nothing you can’t tell somebody. Being an open book doesn’t mean you walk around in public with a naked soul. However, there must be at least a small circle of friends or family with whom you are completely honest at all times.

For that to happen there must be trust. Putting trust in a person or two means you have developed a relationship in which you can count on someone to guard your heart as if it were theirs. In fact, the nature of your relationship is such that you know they’ve got your back and will value your bond no matter what.

Furthermore, practicing the art of authenticity also means you don’t wait for your trusted friend to ask, “How are you doing?” Instead, you initiate full disclosure when you’re struggling. Once you get past the lie that you’re the only one with sin and the only one who fails, this reality frees you to go quickly to a confidant and get support and encouragement.

Delaying disclosure is simply another form of denial. “Maybe if I wait to come clean about this thing, it will go away,” or “Maybe I’ll get better all by myself.”

Nope; hardly ever.

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Another thing that is important when it comes to revealing your secrets is to exercise wisdom. If revealing your brokenness is going to break someone else, then don’t go there with that individual.

For example, if you’re battling discouragement, it may not be wise to talk with a depressed or suicidal friend.

If you’re struggling with lust or pornography, and it will crush your spouse to tell him or her, it might be best to tell a friend (of the same gender).

Sometimes, depending on the nature of the sin or struggle, your friend or spouse may internalize and personalize your battle and think, “What’s wrong with me?” The truth is, it’s not his or her problem, it’s yours, so use discretion. This careful choice regarding who you will share with is not hiding (assuming you are telling somebody); it’s wisdom and an act of love.

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One more piece of practical advice. Confession to a human is good, but confession to God is still crucial.

I encourage involvement in support groups. I admire those who have transparency with others. However, our ultimate freedom comes from a clean heart before the Father. Confession to God brings healing because His forgiveness is what matters most.

So this is the pathway to practicing the art of authenticity:

  • Develop a small circle of trust.

  • Don’t wait to confess your wrongdoing or live in denial.

  • Be wise regarding to whom you choose to reveal your struggle.

  • Own it if you’ve blown it, and start by telling God.

Living a transparent life leads to renewal, and renewal always leads to godly transformation of our hearts and lives.

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May I pray for you?

Jesus, thank you that we are safe with You and need never to fear Your rejection. Thank You for understanding us and always being merciful and kind. Help us to know the joy of confession and openness with You and trusted friends. Help us to walk in the light and in wisdom. Help us to consistently live out the freedom we have in You. In Your name we pray. Amen

Whoever tries to hide his sins will not succeed,

but the one who confesses his sins

and leaves them behind will find mercy.

Proverbs 28:13 (VOICE)

Like what you’ve read here? Looking for your next read? Check out my books on Amazon.

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8 Responses to How to Practice the Art of Authenticity (What it looks like to live without secrets!)

  1. Such wise words, Kurt! And yes, we should first turn to God and confess our sins and shortcomings. He is slow to anger and quick to forgive, thank goodness!
    Blessings!

  2. Kurt, awesome post. I am.blessed to have good and true friends I can be transparent with. I particularly liked this statement “But living without secrets means there is nothing you can’t tell somebody”.
    God bless you

  3. You touch on a very important issue. I have made it through some difficult times because there were one or two guys I could share it with. They didn’t have to have answers but allow me to verbalize my thoughts and know I was supported. The most difficult times have come in facing a difficult challenge with no one to I felt I could trust to talk to about the issue.

Age to Age: What Boomers and Millennials Can Learn from Each Other
Recently, my incredible wife turned sixty. She’s a year older than I am (I think that makes her a [more]
SEX GONE WRONG! (The Reasons, the Costs, and the Keys to Avoiding Catastrophe)
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