Why You Need Relationships with Little Old Ladies

This past summer when I was asked to lead a Bible Study, I wanted to say “yes.” There was just one small catch: The majority of the guys in the group are roughly three times my age. THREE TIMES! I like being around older people, but leading a Bible Study with men who could easily be my grandfather felt intimidating.

Even so, I prayed about it and decided to accept the invitation to teach. I’m so glad I did! It has been one of the biggest blessings of my life as well as a tremendous growing experience. As part of our month-long focus on mentoring here on the blog, I want to challenge you to develop relationships with individuals who have walked down life’s path long before you (and have the gray hair to prove it!).

In our churches, schools, and activities, age groups don’t often intermingle, and it’s a problem. Why? Because we grow and mature mentally and spiritually when we interact with older, wiser, people. As I’ve developed relationships with individuals ten, twenty, thirty, forty, even fifty years older than I am, three things have happened:

  1. Our relationships with each other grow and mature as I see wisdom modeled by godly lifestyles.
  2. My relationships with older people help step me out of my young adult world. When we are only around kids our age, our view of the world can become distorted. Friendship with someone decades older can expand our horizons.
  3. Relationships fostered with older individuals enable me to learn from their mess-ups. Often they want to share what mistakes they made so that we don’t make those same blunders!

Let’s head to the Bible to see some practical examples of these younger/older relationships.

Paul and Timothy

In Acts 16:1 we read about Paul recruiting Timothy into his ministry. Paul goes on to dedicate two entire letters to him as well (1 and 2 Timothy). Paul calls Timothy “my true child in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:2). You can read more about them in Philippians 2:19–24 and 1 Thessalonians 3:1–6.

The Titus 2 Woman

The Titus 2 woman is to “teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children” (vv. 3–4). To use the word “teach” implies that there is some sort of relationship between the older and younger women.

I was recently talking to a friend about marriage, and he mentioned the fact that, when looking for a potential spouse, you want to find a girl who has friendships with older women. (Or in your case, a guy who has developed or is developing friendships with older men.) This shows that the person is willing to learn and has someone to go to for counsel and advice. Great advice!

Samson

This is one case where we see how a lack of relationship with and respect for older, wiser, individuals made a mess of things. You can read Samson’s sad story in Judges 16.

A Cheat Sheet to Get You Started

It is wise (and fun!) to develop relationships with people older than you. Not only will this challenge you and help you grow, but it will encourage the other person as well. Many older Christians would love to share advice/wisdom with you. Remember that life really gets exciting when we step out of our comfort zones. So I challenge you to take that step. (One side note: It’s a good idea to stick to your same gender in developing relationships with older folks. Enough said.)

I understand that developing a relationship with someone ten plus years older than you can be uncomfortable. Here’s a cheat sheet of questions I’ve used to get the conversation rolling.

  1. What is God teaching you right now?
  2. What is a major life lesson that God has taught you through the years?
  3. I am ____ years old (insert age). What would you tell your ___ year-old self? (Insert same age as before.)
  4. Looking back at your life, what’s one thing you wish you have done differently?
  5. Is there anything I can do for you right now? (This will get you involved in their life through service, which is a great way to get to know someone.)

With your cheat sheet at the ready, I’d like to give you two challenges.

  1. This month, find one person who is significantly older than you. Ask them at least two of these questions, and then come back and let us know how it went.
  2. Read all you can about Paul and Timothy. Now go read about Samson. Compare and contrast. What do you observe in each man’s story?

PS: For more about mentoring, don’t miss a single post this month including Freebie Fridays. We’ll be giving away a copy of Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together each week. Score!

About Author

Beecher Proch

Beecher Proch calls the Hill Country of Texas home. When he’s not writing, performing with his three siblings in their band, or attempting to get a smile out of someone, you’ll probably find him working on a new entrepreneurial venture. Beecher is passionate about influencing the world for Christ’s Kingdom through stories, be that blogging, writing meaningful music, or going about it the old-fashioned way and taking a pen to the page.

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  • Tiana

    There are several older women at my church, but i have on lady specifically in my mind. I’m going to pray about it, and talk to my parents about it, then i’m going to ask her to mentor me. She’s an amazing lady, and she is so sweet. P.S. Thanks for the cheat sheet 😜

  • Magdiel De Salas

    That’s so true! They are so full of wisdom that the life and experience that God has given them has taught them. I learn so much from them. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Ruth

    Same here Tiana 👍

  • Suzanne Russell

    Excellent! Since i am turning 65 in just a couple of months, I must qualify as a little old lady. I’m warming up to the idea because I want the kind of relationships you have described here. (Otherwise, getting old is just getting old.) I think the cheat sheet is a wonderful idea. BTW, I lead the women’s ministry in my church and our focus for the coming year will be “becoming Titus II women”. Interesting how God puts like minds together for his purpose! I’m grateful for the Revive our Hearts ministry and all of the resources available through it!

  • Tobiyah Carandang

    Thank you so much for this article! It really confirms a lot of things God has been placing in my heart. I love talking with older people! They just have so much more experience and wisdom that I can’t find with teens my age (but of course I still love my clique haha) I’m still praying for the right mentor but I believe God will bring someone in His perfect time 🙂 Thank you for the cheat sheet!

  • Rebecca Huber

    I like your cheat sheet. I’m none too young myself, but my children are still young, so as an older mom I’m in a younger phase of life. An older lady in my church in another state reached out to me and we now correspond via email since I have moved. I feel like it’s so special she writes to me and enjoy her emails and advice so much.

  • Tessa

    My pastor’s wife is like another grandmother to me. I always enjoy talking to her at church. I value her wisdom, insights, and prayers.