Grandparents for the most part dote on their grandchildren. The older professors in your college will have a lot of knowledge to impart. Old people have seen so much in life and they have so many stories to tell. All they need is an ear to listen. But how do we determine how much respect any single person gets? When we stop respecting an older person, who’s fault is it? Can old age be a reason to demand respect?
Old Age And Indian Culture
It is ingrained in Indian culture that children should respect old age, no matter what. As a child, you will have been taught to never, in your wildest dreams, disrespect an elder. But should we blindly follow the things that have been hammered into us since childhood? Say an elder in your family is intentionally being rude and disrespectful to your mother. It is hard to go against these values, but at that point, you will lose all respect for them and speak up.
The ashirvad of our elders is supposed to bring good luck. But no one wants ashirvad that is laced with disrespect, rudeness, and pettiness. Not respecting seniority and old age will have repercussions, whether within the family or in office. Because even in the workplace, old age merits respect.
Respect Has To Be Earned
Regardless of old age and experience, respect has to be earned. Old age doesn’t automatically guarantee respect; a person’s action should have just as much weight. Would you be able to respect an older person in your society who constantly yells at children playing cricket in the street? Probably not.
When it comes to giving respect, age is not the only factor. We are taught to be respectful and that is what we must always do. While we are definitely not advocating disrespect, how does one respond when an elder blatantly disrespects us?
What Goes Around, Comes Around
Good actions lead to good karma. What you do comes back to you. While you might be thinking about how to draw the fine line between respect that is demanded and respect that is given, consider this: the way you act with your elders now, is what the generation after you will learn.
How you treat your parents or grandparents is how your children will treat you and your parents. If you give them the respect they deserve, you will get it in your old age. A fitting quote from the Bible explains this easily: Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.
Set In Their Habits
Old age is a synonym for retirement in a majority of cases. Knowingly or unknowingly, this free time leads them to sit around and gossip, even if it is without any bad intention. They make it their prime objective to give advice freely and endlessly. Sometimes it becomes an invasion of privacy for whoever is on the receiving end of this advice. They have advice about everything from how to give the male child preferential treatment to when to plan for a child and how to please the in-laws. Whether it concerns them or not, it becomes their business.
Grown-ups sometimes are a tad bit too superstitious. They have such set beliefs that trying to change them is a monumental task. The mentality of brushing everything from whistleblowing to sexual abuse to eve teasing under the carpet is perhaps the biggest reason people tend to lose respect for their elders.
Old age does not equal respect. But a combination of action and behavior definitely does. Kindness, compassion, empathy, generosity, wisdom and courteousness deserve respect. Demanding respect for your old age brings short-term satisfaction. Earning respect through a combination of old age (optional), experience, and good actions are likely to ensure that the respect lasts all life.
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