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Respecting Elders

Teach Children by Example on How to Treat Others

An old adage goes, "what you shall sow, so shall you reap".  Life does indeed work that way most of the time. In order to gain respect from your own children, you need to set your own examples early on, and start showing respect for elders through your own thoughts and behaviors. It is only then possible to gain respect from your own children in the long run. Respect for elders, or any other person, is about honoring and holding that individual in high esteem. It is respectful in root form to consider an individual a person of value and virtue, and is the most honest form of respect, rather than just acting like you have respect. Children in particular can sense this much more than we think.

Respecting Elders, A Beautiful Virtue to Pass on

All of us aspire to gain the respect of others. The question to ask oneself is, do I myself really respect others? As adults, we often take our own parents for granted. We consider our own decisions to be foolproof, which is not always the case. We often get irritated with every suggestion made by our elders. This sometimes can result in us ignoring them. We fail to realize that our children usually do things which we would do in similar situations. They literally copy our own deeds throughout their lives whether they are conscious of it or not. They invariably end up treating us in the same manner as we do our parents.

People in many nations have respect for elders, however, in some cultures they do not have it as a central concern or at least to the same degree others. Some societies wisely embrace the aging of their elders. Others, however, disown people due to their old age.

Some in the new generation in America are really upset. They have lost trust in government and end up having a general disdain for authority. This understandable though over generalized attitude of disrespect and apathy, can be changed by the careful guidance of elders.  On the other extreme, in nations like Japan, at a very early age, they teach the young generation to adhere to complete authority. As a result of this, the Japanese realize the value of respecting elders from very young age, but on the other hand this is also another over generalization, being they may have too much trust in abstract versions of authority like government. A more complex view about elders and authority may be possible and more constructive here in America. One that concentrates on the elders we know and love in our own lives.

Challenges of growing old confront anyone who is in his or her last half of life. Weary bones, knee problems, poor eyesight, fatigue and other age-related problems arise at regular intervals. This should not be an excuse for not having respect for our elders. Although they are physically weaker than younger adults, elders should be respected for their wisdom.

Our elders have undergone numerous challenges in life, and they know that the fantastical ideas of unlimited resources and unlimited material possessions are all short-lived. They provide correct perspective of our decisions, in terms of their long-term consequences. They are often able to understand in a clear light, what is really important. They often end up being effective peacemakers and providing solutions in the toughest of all situations, due to their vast experience.

Most often it gets ignored but the fact is, elders make important contributions of knowledge to the young children in our families and communities. In the United Sates, more than 4.5 million children live in households supported by elders. Children feel comfortable and secure in the presence of their grandparents. These children are then facilitated by elders in their transition from youth to adulthood. Such children grow up and inculcate the values of respecting elders in their own families. Teaching respect for elders comes easily to such children, who have been in similar situations themselves. Such assistance benefits all members of human society.

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