Friday, June 08, 2007

When I am an old woman ...

Along with wearing a red hat and such, what kind of person do I want to be?

I have been thinking about this, not only because Ms. Kitty is, (and all the cool people do what Ms. Kitty does), but also because LE has a fabulous role model in her home church. I think of this woman as "The Elder Stateswoman."

It should be noted that age is not necessarily a requirement of being an Elder Stateswoman. Experience, however, is a necessity. THE Elder Stateswoman does not qualify age-wise, as an old woman. She is, however, a role model to the women younger than herself. And others.

This woman has done her time in leadership roles through the years at church. When asked, she is generally agreeable to giving advice. She gives it, and that's that. If you want to take it, fine. If not, fine. She suggests it as another ingredient in your decision-making, not as a substitute for your decision-making.

Having already done her own time as a leader, The Elder Stateswoman is more than happy to give authority to those now in charge. She believes in allowing leaders to lead, and not be mere managers.

When posed with a question, The Elder Stateswoman always pauses before answering. She gives thoughtful answers. If she doesn't have an answer, she says, "I don't know." She is always interested in learning something new, or in hearing a new idea.

It is because of all this that the leaders of the church, male and female, young and old, go to her for counsel. She unequivocally has an agenda and is open about it: she wants the best for the church. She wants the church to grow so it can meet the needs of others. She wants everyone to be given opportunities to make the world a better place.

As you can tell, I'm kind of in awe of the Elder Stateswoman.

I hate to deviate from this glow-fest to go into negativity, but since I hope to look back on this someday when I am readying myself to be an Elder, I must jot down what is not part of being an Elder Stateswoman:

* Being afraid of change
* Fear of being irrelevant
* Demanding respect for one's age and experience
* Being unwilling to give up power

There is a grace and dignity that goes along with being an Elder Stateswoman. And those stay with you whether you have a red hat on your head, or a beer mug in your hand.

3 comments:

ms. kitty said...

Great post, LE! I have an Elder Stateswoman person in my congregations as well.

Earthbound Spirit said...

I'll let my favorite crone know she's an Elder Stateswoman next time I see her. She's at least 20 years my senior - and she leaves women younger than me in the dust with her energy, passion and commitment. She is everything you said about your ES, super-charged! (She's not a member of my church, but another UU church in the area, and a mentor to women in UU churches throughout our area.)

PeaceBang said...

I have a very clear vision of who I'd like to be if I should live that long. I want to be the Semi-Eccentric Truth Teller -- not so crazy that people can blow me off, but blisteringly honest after all these years of being careful and circumspect. Oh, I can't wait!
That's motivation right there to lose weight and eat my veggies.


My other vision is to retire to Mexico and become just plain Eccentric. Locals will know me as La Bruja (The Witch) and I'll have one outfit and long, greasy gray hair. No make-up or constraining undergarments and I'll read Tarot cards for a living. When I'm ready to die I'll just paddle out into the ocean and fall off my raft for the sharks.