Friday, September 28, 2007

Needed: New Term for Seniors

When I began to consider developing the new thrust to Seniors I quickly discovered the "Term Wars". Even Star Wars Heroes are now "Senior Citizens"! Harrison Ford is "Over the Hill".
First of fall, think about how many different terms we have for people over fifty.

Senior Citizens/Seniors
Gray Beards/Gray Panthers
Prime Time
Old Folks
Baby Boomers
Greatest Generation
Grand Parents
Elders/ Elderly
Social Security
Old Age
Over the Hill Gang
Grumpy Old Men
Silver Heirs (My friends at Evangelical Community Church)

Add your own terms. Especially international readers.

When I attempted to talk with people about this critically important time of life I soon discovered that many of them are rather defensive about the terms I used and I was corrected on several occasions.

For example, at one point I used a little slogan as short hand. I would try to explain who this ministry would serve by saying, Don't Retire-Refire I thought it was clever and memorable but a lot of people said, "That is too restrictive. Many people who have matured in the Lord are not near ready to retire." (They were exactly right so I dropped the slogan even though I like it so well I secretly say it just before dropping off to sleep.)

I have found that many times the term Boomers is used to sum up almost all of the above. In actuality, Baby Boomers are those born from 1946-1964, often the offspring of returning WWII soldiers and their wives. However, since so many of the WWII Generation, sometimes called Builders, are living healthier and wealthier lives for so much longer the line between those generations is blurring.

Another issue is blurring the distinctions between generations. Many of the group of people who were born after the Boomers have waited longer to marry and have kids. This group has sometimes been called, Busters, and they want to be included in our new ministry thrust but do not want the designation. BOOMER hung around their neck. A large percentage of the Busters have known Christ since childhood and have gone through the first three stages of spiritual life at ages younger than their parents and grand parents.

My solution was simple: Come up with a new term to encompass all of these generational groups that have none of the baggage of the former terms. Finding such a term was not simple but it occurred to me one day that the word Seasoned had a connotation of being older and mature without the pejoratives of the terms listed above.

So, I chose to use Seasoned in league with other terms and copyrighted them for Sweeten Life Systems.

Seasoned Citizens
Seasoned Saints
Seasoned Believers
Seasoned Servants
Seasoned Souls
Soul Seasoning

I like the word Season/Seasoned. It can be used to indicate growth and change. For example, food and drink that has been allowed to gain its full potential in the growth cycle. In the case of wine and steaks, to "age well".

It is also a term that can be used in various ways. I like well seasoned food; spicy; alive; dynamic; not flat and tasteless. For example, we will have well Seasoned Gatherings. We will offer, "Soul Seasonings" instead of a curriculum. The aging process is more, Seasoning for the Soul. A positive aspect of aging is the strengthening and expansion of the Soul even while the body is losing its power.

Now I need a term to encompass all the generations we are covering. Let's retire the sports jersey for Boomer. That is so over used and hasn't been washed in years. Likewise, Builders, Busters and all that is confusing and misleading. What do you suggest? Write me your suggestions.

(Winners will receive a picture on my blog and a wonderful article about their creativity, insight and brilliance.)

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