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Why I Love My Elders

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My Great Grandma & Mamaw

Growing up in a strict, southern Baptist family, I was always told to respect my elders. To disrespect them was a crime worse than murder, or so it seemed. To some this respect may be hard to give. I hear complaints all of the time. They move too slow. Ugh, they can’t drive. Oh great, I get to sit next to this old person. I don’t want to hear what they have to say. Don’t they ever just shut up? Some of you may be agreeing with the italicized comments, and others are absolutely cringing in disgust. Thankfully, for me, I always loved my elders. In fact, 90% of my friends are at least a handful of years older than I am. At least half of those are a decade or more above my years. But, I’m getting ahead of myself…

My momma’s sound reasoning behind why I should always respect my elders is that they had lived longer than I had. “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied many.” They knew more, and they had done more. Pure and simple. As a child, I didn’t quite understand this. Why should I respect someone simply because they’re older than I am? Hmmm….

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Papaw, Me, & Momma

As the years rolled by, however, I began to realize why. You see, those years lived are literally a goldmine of information, of knowledge, of wisdom. Even someone who has lived a sheltered life has seen or learned something astonishing by the time they hit 50, 60, 70, 80, 90…. why should you miss out on such important things just because you immediately dismiss someone older than you as annoying? Honestly, it’s the younger generation that’s annoying. This inflated, it’s-all-about-me generation. The generation of technology, who can’t even spare two seconds away from their Iphone to personally communicate with someone. Do I hate this generation? Nope. I’m kind of a hippie, and I love everyone. BUT…. it is annoying.

Moving on…. my love for my elders began as a very young child. Being raised in a large southern family, they were always around. My great-grandmother, grandparents, great-aunts, great-uncles, aunts, uncles, parents…. everyone was always together, and I loved them all. Each of them taught me something that you simply can’t learn elsewhere. They taught me patience, love, understanding, generosity,  humbleness, kindness. They taught me how to cook, clean, tend to babies, sew. They taught me faith, trust, respect, and honor. They taught me all of those things which create a good human being, which create the very foundation for how I live my life now. Without the influence of those much older than I, I would nothing.

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My Grandma Dorothy

If you’re not sold on the whole “you can learn from your elders” thing, that’s okay. I have another point of view to throw at you. Think about how darn TOUGH your elders are. Especially those a LOT older. They survived without all of the medications we have today. They gave birth at home, without a real doctor in attendance. They lived without electricity, without running water, without cell phones or internet. They lived without what many today believe to be the most basic necessities – and they lived through it. They made it. Could most of us say we could actually do that?

The entire point of this is to shed a little bit of light on a very important situation. Young people need to stop disrespecting their elders, and start treating them like the goldmines they are. You could learn so much if you only let yourself act civilized. Go ahead, try it. Just for one day. Be nice, and actually listen. See everything you could really learn, and see if it isn’t worth it in the long haul.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: What My Parents Taught Me | Pen Possessed
  2. P. C. Zick
    Jun 24, 2014 @ 22:37:20

    You got it right! Thanks for reminding us (especially as I head into the elder stage myself!).

    Reply

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