I grew up hearing a number of phrases that today’s generation might find strange … probably based on the fact that they haven’t heard them at all. Some of those phrases might be “corny” by today’s standards and some are certainly outdated in our current chaotic environment.
However, there are a few classic phrases that I think we should resurrect, use regularly, and encourage today’s generation to do the same. One that comes to mind a great deal these days is: “Respect Your Elders.”
I was introduced to those words of wisdom at a very young age and practiced them all my life. Let me define the word “elders” as it was explained to me. An “elder” was anyone older than myself … be it a year older or decades older. There are a number of reasons for respecting elders.
- They are full of hard-earned wisdom. Listen to them and learn. They may not be computer-literate or very interested in technical gadgets, but they certainly did not make it to old age without picking up a little wisdom along the way.
- In most cases, life has given the elderly a broad scope of knowledge that they are more than willing to share. They have already experienced most things that the middle and younger generations are going through right now and could give valuable advice if only they were asked.
- Talk to the elderly; tap into that wisdom. Talk about love, life, human nature, children, finances, politics, dreams and family. They will be glad to impart some of their wisdom they worked so hard to obtain.
Many young people today scornfully tell the elderly that they don’t know anything or that their time has passed. People are heard talking down to the elderly as if their age has taken away their intelligence. Others are seen yelling out their car windows at older drivers who choose to drive at the speed limit rather than over the speed limit. Some folks even take advantage of older people financially by scamming them out of their life savings … a far cry from showing respect.
It is so sad that this is a world where a simple thing like respect is fading away.
Starting within, families should learn to say again “Respect your elders” and demand compliance until it becomes a part of who they are, and until showing respect is as natural as blinking or breathing. Respect or honor for elders is a value that should be passed on from generation to generation. It should be taught to all children beginning at an early age, and those children should be told to teach their children.
If given the time and opportunity, I could produce volumes sharing the wisdom my elders have provided to me over the years. I’m sure most everyone could do the same. While what we have learned may differ, the value certainly does not.
If YOU are an elder, please continue to share. We need your experience and wisdom more today than at any other time in our history. If YOU have exposure to elders, do yourself a favor — dedicate time, listen and learn, and benefit far beyond your wildest expectations.
View this short video for one of many examples of the wisdom we can garner from our elders.
About Harry K. Jones
Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.