“Respect Your Elders”
“Respect your elders”, something I have heard my whole life and yet still have difficulty doing. Respecting one’s elders has been taught and preached since, what seems like the beginning of time. Practiced in every country, city, nationality, language, race, and every culture. We are taught the “golden rule”, which is “treat others the way you want to be treated”. We have a tradition of our values and respect which makes some sense, yet in some cases, it doesn’t make any. Though this may be an exceedingly unpopular opinion, it is valid and relevant through the fact that this issue matters, not just to one person, but to everyone. This issue of respect (or lack thereof) involves our values and morals.
There are many reasons to respect one’s elders, and do not get me wrong, I am not stating one should not. However, I am stating that just because someone is older than you, and is technically qualified as one of your elders, does not automatically give them the right to deserve respect. And in fact, there are many cases in which I do not believe one should be respected as an elder, let alone a human being, just because they are older than you. Cases in which involve rape, blackmail, degrading, mental, physical, and emotional abuse, stealing, harassment, bullying, and in some cases, the general display of the lack of respect. All issues and concepts of which are pretty disrespectful, don’t you think? If one does not have the decency from one human being to another to treat another with even the slightest amount of respect than who are they to be disrespecting? And you may be thinking, often times, these people are the breadwinners (at least in the family). The one(s) who provide(s). And in many cases, (especially when the other is still a minor), the minors/younger ones are often dependant on their elders. Not only have we taught one another that respect heavily relies on dependance, but it also relies on harmony as well. We have built a system where harmony is often presented when one respects their elders, however, if their elder(s) do not deserve their respect in the first place, regardless of whether or not they receive it, there is no true harmony to begin with. Examples such as evil stepparents, abusive guardians, rude and often times harsh school administrators, disrespectful family friends, and more all demonstrate people who have authority and power over others who are typically younger than them.
I do not believe anyone, whether they are an elder or not should be disrespectful, but then have the right to gain respect from others. However, often times treating one’s elders with respect, even though they may not deserve it, makes you the bigger person. And not only that, but elder’s who care for you, love you, and respect you, deserve to be respected unconditionally. Though there are many situations in which this is not the case, and instead of being arrogant to the fact that each person deserves respect, including elders, the elders should not only be enforcing it more, but showing it more too.
Many elders in our lives deserve unconditional respect, however, there are many who do not. True respect towards a person should be earned, not automatically given, regardless of whether they are your elder or not.