There are many ways which different cultures interact generationally. In traditional China, Confucian law encourages an utmost respect for the family unit, and innate value for its older members. And although times are changing, so too do Japan and Korea celebrate the ages of the old. Latin cultures have a similar respect traditionally with their elders, as do many native tribes. Western culture however, contemporary as it prides itself to be, holds a far more youth-centric outlook. This is a concern, as statistics are showing levels of depression and anxiety have skyrocketed due to a decrease in value once we reach a certain age.
Here are a few things we could take note of in order to perhaps incorporate a few positive ideas about our older peers.
They have lived longer than us
Well this we know, obviously. But when we truly stop to think about it and walk just a little way in their shoes, it commands respect. Life is hard! Have patience and consideration for the time they have spent on this earth.
They might know more than you think
If you haven’t already found things to talk to your grandparents, or your neighbour about, ask them questions. Respect the worlds they lived through, the parts of history they survived. They have a lifetime of knowledge.
They have experience different things to us
The world was a different place ‘back in the day’. Evolution is happening fast, and we all know that different kinds of experience means different kinds of wisdom. Compare your differences, consult them, consider them. You might learn something you never could have learned from your own world.
They see the world in a different way
Through the experiences of their own lives and through the time they have spent on this earth, they will see the world from their own perspective. They might assign themselves differently to the way they walk and talk and dress. Take note. It might just broaden your horizons.
They have walked a mile in your shoes
The advantage anybody older than yourself has, is that they have lived at the age that you have before. Although every situation is different, they do know what it is like to be where you are, or at least, at the age you are at. Unfortunately you cannot say the same about them, so have respect and listen to what they have to say.
They are more travel weary
Who knows what countries they have trailed though, what mountains they have climbed to get where they are! They might be tired – offer them a seat!
They have experience we can only dream of
The world is a different place now. The world they lived in will also never exist again as it once did. We will never know what it was like then, before things changed and became now. We can only dream of what it was like to dance in the disco era, or experience war. They lived it. Show respect for the history they have survived.
They will have stories that can benefit us
Everybody has a story to tell. Everyone. These are the stories of our lives, the tales of us. Don’t just roll your eyes when your grandma or grandpa tells you ‘again’ about the good old days … relish in a story that might influence your own.
They are still learning from us too
As we are alive, we are all still learning. They might be older, but they are learning too. Have patience.
They are our family
Your grandparents choices in life resulted in YOU! Be grateful. Look after each other. Love is the answer.
“R.E.S.PE.C.T” – Aretha Franklin, mother and grandmother. x
Featured photo credit: Flickr via imcreator.com