Respect for the aged. It seems to be going extinct these days in America, and yet it makes such a difference in society. It is a basic, important part of training children to teach them to honor those who are older and wiser. Gray hair is a sign of wisdom, and endurance through life’s trials. (That’s why I won’t dye mine!)
“Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:32
With the whole culture going the other direction, how can we teach our children to give honor to the aged? One of the things I’ve reminded my children while they are growing up is that we all feel the same inside—it’s just our changing body that looks different. We’re still inside of our bodies whether we are young or old, and we’re still “us”! If you look at an older woman and imagine the young, energetic, smiling young woman that she was, perhaps you can relate to her better. And know that one day, your own lively personality will be looking in the mirror at your own aging body.
Here’s some guidelines we can teach our children:
How to Honor the Elderly
*rise up when an old person enters the room for the first time out of respect
*be careful not to race around when an elderly person is present. They are not so sure and steady on their feet and little children running around near them makes them fear falling.
*jump up quickly to offer your chair when an older person comes in the room, or gets on the bus.
*offer to get their drink or dessert and carry it to the spot where they are sitting
*listen without interrupting or correcting
*be sensitive to the fact that they tire easily and noisy situations are hard for them
*don’t forget hugs and “I love you”
*don’t call them by their first name. They are not your peers, but far more experienced and deserving of special treatment.
*remember that loneliness is often their unwelcome companion. Phone calls, cards, and visits are much appreciated.
*ask their advice. They have seen far more of life than others and their experience is very valuable.
Ah, what a world it would be if we all honored the aged! It all starts with teaching the young.
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