Do you like to save people from getting in trouble or going down a perilous path? Maybe your religious training implores you to save people from perdition. Many careers are based on saving people, like firefighters, police and medical professionals.


But in the general sense, I believe as we grow older, we have a tendency to use our influence to save people from the mistakes we’ve made. As Oprah says, "When you know better, you do better."


So naturally, as we mature, we think we know better, right? Giving advice is just something we like to do.


The trouble is that, as humans, it appears we like to make our own mistakes. As a vital part of our developmental growth, we begin to step away from parental influence and make our own decisions, good, bad or ugly. As we move into our 20s and 30s, we may think our parents are out of date and their advice is not valuable.


Whatever the situation, it seems that we value our autonomy at the expense of listening to others who could help us avoid some traps. The truth is we do have the wisdom to share, but how we do it is critical. Western culture does not recognize or enjoin the wisdom of Elders.


Our youth ethos is all about being modern, current and cutting edge. Being old is the antithesis of being valuable.


What is the role of a mentor or an Elder? First of all, I would say that unsolicited advice is wasted breath. Not only is it wasted, but it will be met with resistance.


Statements that begin with, "In the old days we ..." or "I’m here to tell you ..." or "When I was growing up ..." will fall on deaf ears.


Giving advice that is solicited is primarily a listening responsibility. Listening and asking questions is the path to sharing wisdom. I want to be that Elder who respects and admires the energy and vitality of youth while holding tight to the value of age, experience and wisdom.


It becomes an exchange of life more than a passing of information.


My sister has a little plaque given to her by her daughter that simply says, "Mom, you were right!" I must say those are the sweetest words of all.


Find Connie’s new book, "Daily Cures: Wisdom for Healthy Aging," at www.justnowoldenough.com.