Monday, July 7, 2008

No Place For Old Folks

I was born into a society that gave credit to wisdom learned from the university of life. A culture that acknowledged the tutoring you got out of living. Grey hair was a badge of honor. It marked you as one who learned from every experience you went through and emerged as a better man. Every elderly was revered and assumed the role of a statesman or community man to be more apt. The elders form a council with the responsibility of ensuring that life in the community was put in order.

The elders assumed multiple roles. They were the community psychiatrist and psychologists. People ran to them for guidance and counseling. They looked into the problems for which their advice was sought always in the context of what was best for all concerned, the community included. The advice was not dispensed off handedly. It would go through a process of consultation and discussions among the elders. Only when convinced that the advice they were going to offer was the most sound and sensible would they dish it out.

They were the community healers and peacemakers. They took it their task to make sure that conflicts and rifts among members of the community were patched. They negotiated peace pacts with other communities to make sure that the right of the community to live their lives without threat from harm and danger was ensured.

Given their status in the community which they rightly deserved, it was almost unthinkable for anyone to treat an elderly with disrespect. To mistreat them would be almost like asking for yourself a curse.

That was then. I do not know what happened. I must have been Rip Van Winkle who slept while things changed around him. I do not know how old people ceased to be icons that the young people should look up to. I do not know how the so called generation gap came to be. This world is fast becoming a no place for old folks like me.


  1. What a wonderful article. I do not care what anyone says, old folks do have a lot of patience, knowledge along with wisdom. Too bad we do not honor them more! I do with the elders that I get to spend time with and enjoy it very much.

  2. I miss my grandmother very much. By the time I realized how valuable she was to me, she was already on her way to the grave, you see, she died from a brain tumor. I was still in high school. I still think of her and regret holding on to all the unanswered questions I could have asked.

    I think it's a good idea for schools to incorporate visits to nursing homes. We need to return to respecting the elderly ASAP!

  3. I hope I will have you wisdom one day at your age and your attitude to take life as it is.

  4. Honestly I want to be closed more to old folks thank younger generation like me. I respect them very much and you can learn a lot from them. I just don't know why but I felt so warm with them and I always want to give them my warm smile. I'm teaching my kids to respect old folks too. I hate those people disrespect them if they don't deserve such treatment.

  5. Hi! Dusty Road

    Thanks for the compliment!

    I am happy you got a very pretty outlook for the aged. Just keep it up. What we do can often influence others to see things the way we do.

    Jacqueline, Hello!

    You are not alone. There are many of us who still hold on to questions that could no more be answered because we kept this to ourselves. Still, I am sure, your grandma must be happy wherever she maybe, to be alive in spirit in a wonderful granddaughter.

    The school idea is great but the homes must take the first move.

    Do visit again Jacqueline

  6. Petra hello!

    One who looks at the beauty of nature with a beholden eye has already the attitude to take life as it is.

    Thanks for the visit Petra. Do come back

    Hi Joy!

    I am very glad you dropped by and much more glad that you are educating your kids to develop positive relations with the aged. Do keep it up.

    See you again

  7. My grandmother is about to be 93! Luckily she is still able to care for herself. The small community that I am from and where she lives treats her with great respect. I know what you mean about people today not respecting their elders, it truly saddens me. I plan on teaching my son and any future kids that the respect given to the elderly is something they have earned and one day, the Lord willing he will be and old person to be respected!

  8. My parents always taught me to respect my elders, a concept I hope to instill into my own daughter.

    My grandparents are the most awesome people I know. They are both mid 80's now, and they are just teenagers with wisdom. They dance, they travel, and they never seem to grow old, except for their knowledge has turned into wisdom. I was lucky, because I got to live with them for a few years, and It really taught me a lot about respecting aged people. I think all children should get that opportunity. It makes me sad when I hear young people say mean stuff about old people, because it shows how ignorant our generation can really be.

  9. you can learn more from an hour withan older person than than two eeks at school ..conversations should be a required part of any course..

  10. Times have changed, people move and do not have contact as much with older relatives, older folks tend to be much more sickly these days because of our terrible contaminated low nutrition diet, family ties are not as important. I am thankful that we have an older neighbor whom my kids are friendly with, for the first time in their lives they have someone older to talk to, they find his stories and advice fascinating!

  11. I visit an elderly couple who were my Neighbours for many years they have no family and now live in a nursing home the gentleman was in the second world war and the stories that he has told me are real interesting they have a lot to offer and deserve better treatment.

  12. Every elder has their contribution for building what it is today, but somehow I felt most of their return isn't too well. Somehow the system has own them something.