I Want to Be an Old Man Some Day

Sam Rainer

March 7, 2010

I want to be an old man some day. My wife’s friends called me “old man Sam” when we started dating, but it doesn’t count. I am older than her, but not that much older. At 30, however, I think I’m more in the younger category than older. So one day I want to be an old man. One with lots of stories.

I look up to the older guys in my church. We young guys need to. There are a few things that I pray don’t disappear with the older generation. There are amazing stories to be told. And stuff to learn—good stuff that will hang with you. While I believe many men in the church desire to be godly leaders, there are some things that the older generation just does well. Here are some examples.

Hats. I love it that some of the older dudes in my church wear hats. It’s classy. Without a hat, you can’t tip a courtesy to a lady. And throwing a shoe just doesn’t work for celebration. More young men should wear hats (not grungy ball caps—it’s not the same thing). Next time I’m shopping with Erin, I’m going to try one on.

Letters. No one writes letters anymore. But I do get handwritten notes from the Builder generation. Young men should write letters—genuine, thoughtful letters—by hand.

Suits. Most older men dress classier. As many of you know, I’m not big on ties. But what happened to the suit? What happened to crisp shirts and sharp dress? Younger men should trade in their board shorts and t-shirts for suits (or at least a nice shirt, pants, and a jacket).

John Wayne. No male actor today even comes close. The older generation had real men who acted, not actors who pretend to be real men.  We need more movies like John Wayne’s movies.

Chivalry. I don’t even know if my generation can spell the word. I’m praying God works a miracle for my daughter, preserving chivalry long enough for her to find a man who still believes in it. Young men, please talk to some of the older guys in your church about chivalry. You will learn a lot.

Manhood.  There once was a clear distinction of what it meant to be a man. The boys were boys. The men were men. A rite of passage was required to move from boyhood to manhood. Now no one wants to grow up. No offense ladies, but this lack of distinction has feminized the church. We can learn from the older guys. They know what it means to be a man.

So I’m aiming to be an old man. Hat tips. Letters. Class. Chivalry. Younger men, you bring a lot to the table (and I know many of you agree with what I am saying), but there is so much to learn from the older guys. Older men, please don’t let your stories die with you. Tell them. Tell them well. Tell them to the next generation. We could use your wisdom. And your hats.

7 comments on “I Want to Be an Old Man Some Day”

  1. Wally says:

    Great article Sam – so “Rooney” like! It is quite amazing for young men to take the time to even notice the difference their elders make.

    I’m reminded of the story (probably in a sermon illustrations book somewhere) about the young man approaching a door about the same time as the woman close to him on the sidewalk. Of course he reached for the door, opened it, and stepped aside for her to enter. “Young man,” she said, “Did you open that door for me because I’m a woman?” (perhaps she was a femminist)”No ma’am,” he said. “I openend that door for you because I am a gentleman.”

    You’re right Sam, we do need more gentlemen. Young men who understand that no one chooses when they enter this world or when they leave it, and so age is given to us divinely, not ordered at the counter like a burger. Men who realize that wisdom is earned and not purchased online or picked up like a “Starbucks” coffee while dashing off to work.

    One of the things I learned after turning 30 was that if felt just like 29. Funny, I still felt the same way when I turned 55. And I suppose I’ll be saying that (as will you) when I turn 80 or 90 something. Anyway…

    I appreciate your article. I can tell you were speaking freely from your heart. And it’s so nice to know that you want to be an old man someday. So do I.

  2. Aleeah says:

    It is great to know that there are still young men out there that desire these sorts of things. I have a great deal of respect for true men, not little boys in a grown man’s clothing. God gave me a man that wears crisp suits, writes little handwritten notes and has never failed to open a door for a female of any age and background.

    We have been together for 26 years, and yes, to this day, he has NEVER failed to “put me in the car” whenever we ride together.

  3. Gray Dourman says:

    There is always a point in someone’s life when someone else tries to tell you how to do something. They call it teaching. It is as fundamental to the human character as eating or talking. It forms and perpetuates the culture an individual is born into. Cultural evolution and adaptation emerge from the process of teaching. We are what we were taught.

    Put down those books and walk into the wilderness naked. Learn, but refuse to be taught.
    Gray Dourman

    1. mwynn says:

      Mr. Dourman has proven he is a fool. Only fools cannot be taught. Only fools believe that life is all about themselves and what they want. Only a fool believes that truth is relative and not absolute.

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