5. Being Valued

By Jim Selman

Being valued is the final declaration made in the Eldering Ceremony.

The most common concern of people when they retire is that it seems as if they are no longer valued and appreciated for their experience or for who they are. One day we are at the center of dozens of conversations, our world is filled with requests, and it seems impossible to find time to keep all our commitments. Then suddenly we are free to do whatever we want, whenever we want, wherever we want and with whomever we want. But with this new freedom comes the frightening realization that we must be the author—the generator—of our lives at every moment. The world does not owe us something because we have reached a certain age.

We always reap what we sow.

So if we wish to be valued, we must continue to add value—we must be continue to be of genuine service—to those in our community. We will only stop being valued when we stop contributing, stop caring, stop engaging and withdraw. We will not be valued for being spectators of life. In the words of George Bernard Shaw:

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I can live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

Take The Service Challenge

This calling to contribute to the whole community can take many forms. There may be no greater ideal for the rest of our lives.

We challenge you to help others learn to be of service and to experience being valued in the world—regardless of their age. We ask that you offer what you see is missing to the fullest degree possible and that you serve others without condition or expectation of reward.

The experience of being valued through our service to others is a choice. We challenge you to remember that you are the Chooser when you forget.

We ask that you be a teacher and a mentor to others of all ages in the domain of Service.

We ask that you stand for the possibility of being valued throughout life for those who will follow.

Do you accept these challenges and this responsibility as an Elder in our world?