I remember meeting Mrs. Davis at the nursing home when I first volunteered there. She gave me the impression of being talkative, lively, and extremely funny. One week later when I encountered her again, she was irritable and violent. I found myself confused by her sudden change in personality. The nurse working explained to me that she had Alzheimer’s disease. She also told me that Mrs. Davis’s son visit her at least two times every week. The staff was amazed that her son would take out so much time for his mother. I was touched by the son’s actions because his actions told me that he respected, revered, and cared deeply for his mother.
In the American society today, the elders are often neglected by their children because of their job responsibilities. However, in the Asian culture, we believe in revering the elders. In fact, despite the fact that many Asian Americans have jobs, they will still take care of their parents. If needed, Asian children will cut down on their hours to care for their parents. I believe that people should honor, revere, and care for the elderly. The elderly should be treated with respect since they have a lifetime of experience and wisdom to share.
I believe that if we treat our elderly well, our children will see our actions and imitate them. Therefore, our children will one day give us the same amount of respect and care. Lack of respect and care for the elderly makes the idea of growing older less appealing. On the other hand, in many Asian societies, many people look forward to growing old because they know that their children will take good care of them.
I’ve heard my own nieces and nephews asking me this question, why should I respect somebody just because he/she is elder to me? In general, you should always show respect to everybody, even those who are younger. But you should especially show respect to your elders because they are ahead of you in age, in wisdom, in maturity, in experience and education. Our elders have done a lot for us, directly or indirectly and most of us owe everything to their kindness and love. Besides, elders have also been through all the phases you are going through and know a little more about the world than you do. However much you disagree with them, give them credit for their experience.
All younger generations have always disagreed with their elders and it is these differences that bring changes in human society. Therefore I feel respecting our elders is a good belief to have and live by.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.