The Dreams of the Elderly

The Dreams of the Elderly

Ours is a society of youth. Technology is constantly changing; everything seems to be getting faster.

We’re constantly looking for the latest young celebrity, while the older ones are being pushed off to the side to make room for the new.

And those who are old are being propped up to look younger, so that they can still be an acceptable part of society.

Years ago, we used to appreciate and respect the grey-haired for their wisdom. The older people were the living links to the past: they could share historical events first hand, what they learned, and pass it on to the next generation. But recently, we have increasingly diminished their role in society, often leaving them in nursing homes with little to no contact with family.

Over Thanksgiving break, we went to see my wife’s grandmother in the nursing home. Although she didn’t remember us very well, I think she was thrilled to see her children, and especially her great-grandchildren. Our two year old daughter connected with her over a stuffed animal that she shared with great-grandma. Earlier, I visited my grandmother in the nursing home before she passed away a couple years ago. I am glad I did, and now I don’t have any regrets. Now my grandmother, too, at the end, was not very lucid and so it was a bit awkward to visit.

But even though she couldn’t communicate, who knows how much ideas, hopes, and aspirations were still circulating within her mind?

Here is an excerpt from the book I illustrated, “The Boy in a Tree.”  As I’ve shared in the past, the story follows Nick, a boy with special needs who loves climbing trees throughout his life.

At the end of the book, we read how, as an old man, he is still dreaming…


Elderly person, children's book, Matt Philleo

Excerpt from “Boy in a Tree,” by Pamela Boodle and Illustrated by Matt Philleo, featuring Nick as an elderly man


Interestingly, the Bible shares that sentiment with us–that the elderly are vitally important, and have great ideas. They have excellent, lofty ideas that have been founded upon wisdom and experience–perhaps dreams that never made it to fruition–and now they lack the strength to carry them out.

It is for us in the next generation then, to carry on this torch, to retrieve the baton, and keep the vision of the previous generation alive. 

We see that with Moses passing the baton to Joshua, who finally entered the promise land in his lifetime, even though for his predecessor, it was only a dream.

We see that with Martin Luther King, Jr., who we all know from history had a dream that the white man and black man would stand together in equality and harmony. We’ve made steps toward that as a society, but obviously, as we see in current events, have a long, long way to go. Although he was not elderly at the time he gave his famous speech, if he were still alive, he would be an old man today and his dream would still most likely remain unfulfilled. But the dream is good, and the hope of it lives on.

We see that with Simeon, in the New Testament, who was waiting the long-promised Messiah, the deliverer of Israel. He dreamed that one day He would get to see this child that would the change the destiny of nations in person, and for him, the dream became reality, when Joseph and Mary entered the temple to perform the cleansing and dedication ritual for their Son. The elderly Simeon held baby Jesus of Nazareth in his arms, and he knew that his hopes of the healing of the nation of Israel–and the world would be realized.

Jesus is the fulfillment of all good dreams. 

Peace on earth, goodwill to men, and everything good that we long for, is found and will be found in Him–this perfect man and God, in the form a humble human servant, who ultimately demonstrated this posture of service in laying down his life for us on the cross, to bring us forgiveness of sin, and the restoration of humanity.

Finally, God Himself promised, “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17)

Hear the dreams and aspirations of the elderly. Maybe these dreams can become your dreams too, and even become a reality in your life.


Boy in a Tree Childrens Book by Pamela Boodle and Matt Philleo

Excerpt from “Boy in a Tree,” by Pamela Boodle and Illustrated by Matt Philleo, featuring Nick climbing a tree


If you live near the Eau Claire area, the author of “The Boy in a Tree,” Pam Boodle and I would love to have you come and visit us at our book signing event this Saturday, December 3.  More about that here.

As we get into the Christmas season, may it be a blessed one for you and your family. 

All the best,



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"I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands."

Inscribed6a 500px

"Inscribed," Pencil on Paper, by Matt Philleo

One day, when I was discouraged I read a verse in the Bible, in Isaiah, 49:15-16, where it says, "Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands." This verse brought such encouragement, that I created this original work of art to share the incredible love of God with others, including you!

Get a free 8 x 10 copy of this drawing that you can use to print, share, or as wallpaper!

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  1. Very good article, Matt.
    I long to know more about my family’s past but have never had the opportunity to learn more about it from my elders.
    I think that all of the new technology has greatly changed this country’s respect for the elderly. The older generation at large was not raised with all the advances in technology – therefore the tendency of the younger ones (with the help of the liberal educational system and others) is to feel superior and above the advice and help of their elders. What they do not realize is that technology does not replace the respect and love of/with their elders.
    Also, because of our years of experience in multiple areas, the political system has labeled us as ‘behind the times’ and undesireable. Mainly because we do not agree with their “new ways of thinking.” (and acting)

    • Matt Philleo

      Thanks for the good comments, Mom. Well stated. Technology has definitely created a gap between the generations. Because new things are being created all the time, the obsolescence of yesterday’s cellphone or computer, and how we throw them out once they’ve served their purpose has probably crept in to our thinking of how we treat people as well. You are right too that there is a huge difference in the mindset between the younger and older generation ideologically and politically, as we can see by the polling statistics.


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