One of the joys of working on the Legacy Project is learning about similar ideas from around the country. This week, I received an email from Tina Jones, who runs the Spring Street Outreach Program at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Franklin, Tennessee (pictured at right). Assisted by volunteers, Tina brings a group of around 40 low-income elders to the church each month for a hot meal and activities. All of these elders are African-Americans who lived through segregation, integration of the schools and many other significant events in our country’s history.
Tina had the great idea to have the participants offer their “Words of Wisdom” for young people. They created a lovely compilation of lessons from these wise ones, which you can read here. And the project was intergenerational: A group of students at Battle Ground Academy (a middle school in Franklin) helped summarize and present the elders’ advice.
Here’s a sampling of the advice from several participants:
People who hide nothing have nothing to hide!
To hate or be angry with someone is like you drinking poison and
wishing that the other person dies.
If you settle for what you got, then you deserve what you have!
Unsolicited advice is nothing more than criticism.
Get the best education you can; everyone needs to be able to read and write well.
Leave all the bad habits alone (drugs, alcohol, crime, etc.). because they will hurt you later.
Get a job and go to work. It may not be the job you really want; but, if you work hard and people see you are a good worker, you will move ahead and things will get better.
Go to vote in every election. Get into politics to make a better world.
If there is a “black sheep” in the family, remember that his wool is just as important as the others.
Love one another
Learn how to pray
Stay and finish school
Follow your dreams
In the Legacy Project and the book 30 Lessons for Living, we strongly urge everyone to ask the elders in their lives for their lessons for living – before they are gone. Hats off to Tina and the St. John’s Episcopal Church outreach program for this terrific project idea. Why not try sponsoring something like it through your faith community?