Three types of elderly people most to be pitied are those who do not read, those without family, and those without a faith.  And since youth is a preparation for old age, it should be a time to develop one’s life along these three vital lines.


          The popular song proclaiming that “people who need people are the luckiest people in the world” is entirely wrong.  People who do not need to be constantly with other human beings to survive are much better off.  In youth the cultivation of a sense of self-sufficiency and delight in solitude will pay off when the time comes that a person may be left alone in the world.  It is then that the companionship of a good book will bring contentment.  And reading will pay other dividends as well by keeping the brain alert and growing - even as other faculties are in decline.  Most to be pitied are those who have no interests other than chit-chat and triviality with which to pass tedious hours.


          The finest relationships in life are with family members, but many in their younger years do not want to inconvenience themselves by having children or by cultivating lasting familial relationships.  People nowadays too easily cut ties and move away to remote locations instead of putting down roots among kinfolks who love them.  So, in their decining years their only companionship must come from a pet dog or a house full of cats.


          Disregard of religious faith in youth can have grave consequences for the final years of life.  Too late one finds that running after pleasure and physical reward to the neglect of mental and spiritual development produces a shallow character that does not in the end bring ultimate satisfaction.  Taking the easy road of instant gratification is the short cut to a life of failure in the long run.


          Hopefully, better character can be molded even in advancing years, but the time can come when a change for the better is not possible, because a lifestyle is permanently fixed.  Therefore, a person should start out on the right way in the springtime of life, so that when winter comes it will be a time of contentment and peace.

                                                                                      Richard L. Atkins