The commercial on TV showed a man checking his homeowner’s insurance coverage. He asked if it covered his air conditioner. The lady said, “No, air conditioners are not covered.” He asked, “What is covered?” She responded, “Floods, earthquakes, and a Zombie Apocalypse.” What, you may ask, is a Zombie Apocalypse? To get an answer to that logical question it might be well to watch a TV show called, “The Walking Dead.”

My concern is not a fictional TV show. It is, instead, the fact that we have a senior citizen population that is growing at a rate of thousands each day with no end in sight. I am concerned with an aging population that still has abilities that are not being fully utilized. We lament our younger generation not taking advantage of their educational opportunities. How about a healthy, well-educated citizenry with capabilities to spare just sitting and watching the world go by? Where did we get the idea that we should quit work and live off of the dole for the rest of our lives? I can guarantee you it isn’t in the Bible.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel published an article in the Atlantic Monthly entitled, “Why I hope to die at 75.” His thesis was that those over 75 contribute little to society but take up an inordinate amount of the nation’s health resources. He said, “The nation would be better off if they were dead.” I have to admit, considering that I am well into my eighth decade, that I don’t care much for Dr. Emanuel’s thesis.

Dr. Emanuel may have forgotten that Winston Churchill was still Prime Minister of England at the age of 81, that Ronald Reagan was still president of the United States at 78, and Grandma Moses did her best painting in her 80’s. Henry Kissinger just authored another book on politics and international relations, his 12th. That Nobel Peace Prize winner is now 94. Still, Dr. Emanuel does have a message for us that is worth considering, that of making our senior years as productive as possible.

A Zombie Apocalypse? Not a chance. However, senior citizens do have a responsibility to the world we live in. We can’t let ourselves become Zombies living from day-to-day with no goals or ambitions that benefit those around us. All of us have time, energy, and abilities that can be utilized for the public good. The secret is to push out from our artificial boundaries and look for a place to serve.

Those of us who have reached what some nin-com-poop called the “golden years” should strive to make those years as productive as possible. There are numerous community organizations such as Meals-on-Wheels, Red Cross, and United Way that need volunteers to provide services to those less fortunate. Churches have become the backbone of what former President George H.W. Bush called “points of light” in our communities. They have a never ending list of opportunities for us to be of service to others. We just need to open our eyes to the possibilities. And, it goes without saying that the younger generation needs our wisdom and, even more, our example.

One compatriot from Keokuk, Iowa, wrote me a few weeks back telling me about volunteering with first and second graders to improve reading skills and working with kids at The Son Valley Youth Ranch (Canton, Missouri). The opportunities are legion.

So, here is a challenge for you. Most of us are motivated by example and opportunity. If you are a senior still volunteering and doing good things for others, take a minute and write me a note. Let me know what you are doing. My E-mail is presnet@presnet.net. I will find a way to get many such emails into a future column. Share your example. We may stimulate some other seniors to look for new opportunities. The benefits may multiply.

-- Dr. Mark L. Hopkins writes for More Content Now and the Anderson Independent-Mail in South Carolina. He is past president of colleges and universities in four states. Books by Hopkins currently available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble include “Journey to Gettysburg” and “The Wounds of War,” both Civil War-era novels, and “The World As It Was When Jesus Came.” Contact him at presnet@presnet.net.