"That younger generation! What's the matter with kids today?"
"Sheesh! What in the world do old people know....they're sitting around listening to their arteries hardening."
The young and the old. Has it always been this way? Absolutely.
Is it worse now than it used to be? Probably.
Is there anything that can be done about it? You betcha.
Solomon notes here that each age group has their virtues: the young have strength and exuberance, and the aged have wisdom born of experience. I think the implication here was captured quite well by Matthew Henry when he said,
"Let neither of them despise nor envy each other..."
Young people are strong and fit, and can tackle difficulties and obstacles that older folks find daunting. Of course, they need to be careful not to give way to prideful attitudes, nor to trust totally in their own strength, but be grateful to God for their vitality and health.
Paul said to Timothy, who was younger than he was:
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (I Timothy 4:12)Older folks can usually be trusted for counsel and advice, and need to be gracious when dispensing it, not looking down on the younger one who seeks out their experience and wisdom.
Paul had some sound words for them, as well:
That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness....Did you notice the two words that I highlighted there? Paul is telling both the young and the old to be examples to other Christians . . . and the traits they should model are very similar. Do you think perhaps he recorded one of the first formulas to resolve the generation gap?
In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. (Titus 2:2-3a, 7-8)