Does Longevity Deserve Recognition?
I don’t consider myself “old.” I mean really, when does that happen? Perhaps in another 20 years or maybe longer. Now mind you, I do love getting my age-related discounts (thank you Fred Meyer and Goodwill) but I don’t really think that makes me “old.” If you think it does, I don’t really want to know. So there. Which is a very mature response if I do say so myself.
Last night my husband and I went to a wonderful event that embraced and acknowledged longevity. Recognizing his years of employment, Tom officially became a member of the “25 Year Club” at Oregon State University. There was a lovely dinner, a short introduction on each inductee, a gift given, and a 25-year pin bestowed. After dessert, the members of the 30, 40, and 45-year clubs were also recognized with a pin and a gift. From here on out, Tom is a member – he can attend the annual dinner and reconnect with colleagues. His name will be listed every year in the program.
Years ago, American Express ran its “Membership Has Its Privileges” campaign. The event at OSU reminded me of those old ads – but renamed – “Longevity Has Its Privileges.”
Our society often poo-poos (yes, I said it) dedication and commitment to organizations. We are after the hot new place to go or searching for the shiny penny. Perhaps it’s time to stop and recognize the benefits of having people in our congregations and non-profits who have stuck it out over the long haul. Those people who have been there through the ups and downs. Those who have said, “yes” to faithfully hanging in there when it would have been so much easier to say “see you later.” Those who have provided stability for years with their time, talent, and financial treasures.
Recognizing people with a simple but lovely dinner and a “thank you” goes a long way in making people feel appreciated and loved. My husband will now proudly wear his 25-year pin whenever he’s at an OSU event. He’ll feel even better when he is asked to give financially. This simple recognition has given him a stronger bond with this place where he has served for so long.
No doubt, the GI Generation, the Silent/Mature Generation, and truth be told, some Boomers would welcome the chance to be recognized at such an event at your church or non-profit. Check out this article about “The Six Living Generations in America” and see if you don’t agree. And bonus – it might just offer up a little inspiration for younger folk as they serve as witnesses to the collective wisdom and faithfulness of the people that surround them at an event. It’s time to throw a party to celebrate longevity. Even I can get behind that.
P.S. Only two more days of the United Methodist General Conference are left. Please keep praying that somehow we will be a fully inclusive church with “Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.”
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2.5 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She is seeking other places where her age might save her big bucks. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation; she is available to consult with churches in Oregon and Idaho. You can reach her at email@example.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.