Elders

Last week, as part of my online Catalan course, the Ramon Llull Institute arranged an interview with the actress Míriam Iscla – one of the leading figures in Catalan theatre and film.

It was a wonderful opportunity to ask her questions and listen to her experience as an actress. It was an informal interview over Zoom and after the first few questions, when everyone was feeling more comfortable, the ‘atmosphere’ (if I can call it that over the internet) changed completely.

The questions we were asking provoked some responses that left us speechless. It was an interview, but something changed when everyone was engaged and she began speaking from her heart. It felt more like a key-note speech at times. It was very powerful and we were hanging from her every word.

Miriam is in her sixties and by no means ‘old’, but I would say she was almost like an elder throughout the interview. In comparison, our teachers are quite young and the rest of us are university aged students. But it was almost like having an older relative in the ‘room’ sharing their wisdom and passion with us.

This is the beauty of spending time with older people. I’m lucky to still be able to spend time (albeit virtually at the moment) with my aunties, uncles, Nana and Grandad. 

As young people, we have a lot to learn from those around us. I know I can be arrogant and naive most of the time. Sometimes, I think it would do me good to listen to and ask the Elders around me for advice and wisdom – their years and experience have given them a different perspective from mine.

It’s not about being right or wrong. Perhaps, some of our Elders hold views that we don’t agree with or may seem “old-fashioned’ to younger people. But that is why dialog is so important. We can have a conversation. Listen, learn and question each other, in order to grow together. One day, my ‘contemporary’ opinions will be outdated, traditional and old fashioned for someone else in the future.

Who are the Elders in your community or family who you could have a conversation with this coming week?