Respect Your Elders

old hands

This weekend I had a front row seat to see how someone’s thoughtless, childish, rude behavior crushed two senior citizens.

Although I’ve known this for a while, you can get a perfectly clear picture about someone’s character from watching how they treat the elderly.

Just because a person’s skin is wrinkled, their vision has dimmed, and they no longer move with any speed, doesn’t mean they should be treated with less respect, care or kindness.

It also doesn’t mean they are stupid. Don’t assume just because someone is aged that their mind no longer functions.  A lot of them are as sharp as tacks, and those who assume otherwise are the ones I think aren’t hitting on all cylinders.

Getting old sucks.

Even if the mind is willing, the body is often lagging behind.  Things that used to come easily now are challenging and life seems to move both so fast and so slowly, making it difficult to keep up.

Despite their physical challenges, so many of the elderly have such great stories to tell, such wisdom to offer. Those who shun them or treat them disdainfully are hurting themselves the most because they are missing out on time spent with these walking time machines.

If you want to check out someone’s character, take them to a senior center or have them interact with a group of elderly. It will tell you more about them than hours spent in conversation.

Despite delusions that it won’t ever happen to us, we are all going to be old someday. It’s how things work.

I don’t know about you, but if that saying  “what goes around comes around” is true, I hope that those who are kind to the elderly now in their youth will receive similar treatment in their old age.

As for those of you who treat the elderly like something nasty stuck to your shoe – just remember there will be some self-centered, cruel person out there who will offer you the exact same treatment someday.

Be kind and patient with our senior citizens. Offer them encouragement and a helping hand. Ask them about their life. Engage them in meaningful conversation. You’ll be glad you did.

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