The Elders

The Artist's Parents by Philipp Otto Runge
It’s an honour to age. 
When human beings age, in general, they reach a stage of refined maturity (just like a good bottle of Porto wine). 
I ask, what possesses a young and middle-aged person to disregard or even mistreat an elderly? 

Parents & Children
Last weekend, I heard two disturbing examples of a relationship between aging parents and their offspring. 
I: A parent gets sick. A couple of adults are advised that their parent needs to be looked after. What do they do? They dump him/her in a hospital (under a false address) and keep receiving their parent’s retirement benefits. 
II: A parent gets old and it is not advisable for him/her to live alone. The offspring takes him/her in; it manages to benefit from their pension by co-signing the parent’s banking account. 
Do people (like the ones in these examples) forget who those aging, fragile, human beings are? Once upon a time they were young and healthy, they fell in love, they married, they had children, they worked to make sure their kids would not want, they loved and played with them and, towards the end of their life how do their kids repay them...? 

Senior Citizens & Society
I: A bus is full, an old lady with a cane enters the vehicle: no one gets up to offer her a sit.
II: A couple of old people walks, enjoy their afternoon and then decide to visit a museum. When reaching the main entrance: a young man brushes through them abruptly to enter first, opens the door and then let’s the door slam on the seniors’ nose.
III: A young couple gives birth to their first child. They struggle with the idea of putting the child in a day-care facility. Both of the child’s grandparents are retired and healthy: instead of leaving the child with one of their parents; they spend money they can’t afford, hiring a nanny (a total stranger). 
These few examples already give us an idea of how perturbed society is. 

The Elderly and Confucius
Confucius taught that we should seek to be a Man of Rén. Being so means realising that we are not alone and that everyone is responsible for either someone or something (be it a relative, the state or the world). He taught the Five Relationships but the one pertaining this article is:

 "Elder to Junior - there should be consideration among the elders and deference among the juniors"

Indeed, the elders should not misuse and abuse their status yet they deserve our utmost respect, and care, for being the symbol of nurture, experience and wisdom. 

Before mistreating a senior citizen, we should always remember that eventually we’’ll be in their shoes. 

“Do not do unto others what you do not want others do unto you”…I say…

Comments

  1. Even in China they are losing the teachings of Confucius when it comes to the elderly. When I lived there, I didn't see the same respect that I had seen in Taiwan years earlier. When we boarded a bus, it was every man for himself, regardless of their age. I personally would give my seat to an elderly person, but I was surprised that the youth didn't.

    I think there does come a time when even we as children are unable to care for aging parents, but I think we should care for them as long as physically possible.

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  2. Hey D! :D

    "Even in China they are losing the teachings of Confucius when it comes to the elderly. When I lived there, I didn't see the same respect that I had seen in Taiwan years earlier. When we boarded a bus, it was every man for himself, regardless of their age. I personally would give my seat to an elderly person, but I was surprised that the youth didn't."

    I read a blog (whose author is Chinese) where he was saying the same thing: tradition is not what it used to be any longer (the youth doesn't respect their elders, they don't pay respects to their Manes [ancestors] nothing...) and I agree with him, when he says that it is sad.
    Oh, the youth...*nodding*.

    "I think there does come a time when even we as children are unable to care for aging parents, but I think we should care for them as long as physically possible."

    Agreed.

    D, superb comment: thank you ever so much, girl :D.

    Cheers

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  3. This is one thing which I feel is deeply mysterious just like our life...Just imagine another scenario of our life, where we all know man is not immortal and we will all leave the world one day, but still everyday we fight among friends, families or outsiders to protect our land, money, belongings even if we have no heirs and we don't know who will enjoy these things after us.

    Similarly for your mentioned example too, we all know we will grow old one day and have to face the same vagaries as anyone faces in old age but as we have seen time and again, as if our life is attached so much to our fate and destiny and sometimes you can't really control the situation even if you want to in your own way. Somethings in lives things just happens whether we want or not and we really control it.

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  4. Hi Kalyan :D!

    "Just imagine another scenario of our life, where we all know man is not immortal and we will all leave the world one day, but still everyday we fight among friends, families or outsiders to protect our land, money, belongings even if we have no heirs and we don't know who will enjoy these things after us."

    I so know what you mean...*nodding*. Humans beings are unbelievable.

    "Similarly for your mentioned example too, we all know we will grow old one day and have to face the same vagaries as anyone faces in old age but as we have seen time and again, as if our life is attached so much to our fate and destiny and sometimes you can't really control the situation even if you want to in your own way. Somethings in lives things just happens whether we want or not and we really control it."

    It may be so, however I still believe that dealing with our elders is a matter of respect (of respecting another human being, and specially [concerning parents] a human being that contributed to whom we are today). And sadly enough, the world is forgetting this simple value: respect.

    Kalyan, thank you ever so much for your valuable input :D.

    Cheers

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  5. Max, I am 68 and I am the primary caregiver for my 94 year old father who lives with me. My son is 40 and lives with me too. The kind of things that you mention do not happen in my personal life but I do know that they do outside my home. Such ill treatment is not restricted to the elderly, it is also to be seen in domestic violence against children and women. It is sad that human values have deteriorated thanks to an increasingly materialistic and selfish humanity. Graciousness is increasingly scarce.

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  6. Hi Rummy :D!

    "Max, I am 68 and I am the primary caregiver for my 94 year old father who lives with me. My son is 40 and lives with me too. The kind of things that you mention do not happen in my personal life but I do know that they do outside my home."

    That is so beautiful! Three generations living together (I know the feeling) :D. Thank God! It doesn't happen in my life either, but I cannot close my eyes to what happens in society, right?

    "Such ill treatment is not restricted to the elderly, it is also to be seen in domestic violence against children and women. It is sad that human values have deteriorated thanks to an increasingly materialistic and selfish humanity. Graciousness is increasingly scarce."

    You are totally right (in every single word you uttered)!

    Rummy, a superb comment for which I thank you so so much :D.

    God Bless you!

    Cheers

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  7. Well in my case, I always offer my help when I see someone elderly or not who needs one. In terms of elders misusing their status, I tend to point it out to them without sounding disrespectful.

    Wonderful article as usual! You always make me stop and think :)

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  8. Hi Max,

    This post captures the vulnerability of aging, parenting and knowing how to configure the family structure in a loving way.

    I was just talking about this the other day. I don't understand why parents leave their child with total strangers either, but I know that sometimes they don't have a choice. A babysitter was recommended to a friend of mine and she turned out to be abusive. We never know what's going on once we leave the kids. (That's why every child should have a tiny camera on his/her ear so the parent can see what's going on. Okay I was 'partially' kidding.)

    I am sensitive to the elderly, for we have all been there and we will be there again.

    Thanks so much for shining a light on this subject. Well done.

    Kudos Cheers!

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  9. Hi Charles :D!

    "Well in my case, I always offer my help when I see someone elderly or not who needs one."

    God Bless you!

    "In terms of elders misusing their status, I tend to point it out to them without sounding disrespectful."

    lol I hear you! I tend to do the same...

    "Wonderful article as usual! You always make me stop and think :)"

    Thank you for your generosity *bowing*.

    Charles, again another thoughtful comment: thank you :D!

    Cheers

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  10. Hi Lady A :D!

    "This post captures the vulnerability of aging, parenting and knowing how to configure the family structure in a loving way."

    *Bowing*...

    "I don't understand why parents leave their child with total strangers either, but I know that sometimes they don't have a choice."

    True, sometimes they do not have a choice (for many reasons; but I'd like to add another one: the grandparents do not want to take care of their grandchildren because they feel they need to focus upon themselves at their present stage of life...it's another perspective, eh?), but when they do have the choice many choose to leave their kids with complete strangers.

    "A babysitter was recommended to a friend of mine and she turned out to be abusive. We never know what's going on once we leave the kids. (That's why every child should have a tiny camera on his/her ear so the parent can see what's going on. Okay I was 'partially' kidding.)"

    Oh yes, abusive nannies and babysitters are not uncommon - unfortunately. LOL a tiny camera on the ear? You may be kidding (even if partially) but there is a strong message in what you are saying here...

    "I am sensitive to the elderly, for we have all been there and we will be there again."

    I never got to be an elderly in my past lives; but I am hoping to be in this one. But for many, what you said it is absolutely true.

    "Thanks so much for shining a light on this subject. Well done."

    You are most welcome *bowing*. Thank you :).

    Lady A, thank you so so much for your most valuable comment :D.

    Efharisto Cheers

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  11. Hey Max it is good to see you blogging. As always enjoyed your topics. So about the elderly, I always got more along with older people. When kids take advantage of the parents, or elderly it really makes me sad. Sometimes I wonder what went wrong with those people, or who gave them those personality traits. It is sad sad in fact. Thanks for sharing may of them, something I heard many times before - common facts. Hugs and kisses your way. Anna :)

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  12. Max, in the land of social security we don't worry about such things. (!) The main thing I have overheard is from elderly people at the coffee house sitting around talking about their children's plans on what to do with the inheritance.

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  13. Hey Max, i find this particularly interesting (guess what ... every day i get old..!) So how do i see myself when i got old? if i got old, well, for myself i do not dislike the idea of being in a home for the elderly (nurses .... ), and even if i do not have my love ones with me, but i'm capable of having fun, well i'll get through. My big question is, will i be capable of taking the decision, i mean, the idea of "being taken to" or "sent to" a nursing home is much like i'm not capable of taking a decision; i wouldnt want to be a burden to no one, but if i had €€ enough, i would got to a sunny place to watch sunset everyday. But i think nowdays most of the persons just get read of the parents as they get really old just for a matter of convinience and that just for itself, is not right. Is twisted, because basically most of the times parents raise their children with care and attention and as a reward they receive a nursing home as some times (nursing homes) look like a stock of old persons, wich is really depressing an sad. So our civic education should embrace also this subject (son you are, parent you'll be).


    All the best
    gallardo

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  14. Hi Anna :D!

    "Hey Max it is good to see you blogging. As always enjoyed your topics."

    Thank you, darling *bowing*.

    "So about the elderly, I always got more along with older people."

    I know what you mean...

    "When kids take advantage of the parents, or elderly it really makes me sad. Sometimes I wonder what went wrong with those people, or who gave them those personality traits. It is sad sad in fact. Thanks for sharing may of them, something I heard many times before - common facts. Hugs and kisses your way."

    Yes, we should analyse more what is behind such amounts of disrespect towards parents and the elderly.
    You are most welcome, dear :). Big hug and kisses...

    Anna, thank you immensely for your comment :D. You were missed...

    Cheers

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  15. Hi Looney :D!

    "Max, in the land of social security we don't worry about such things. (!) The main thing I have overheard is from elderly people at the coffee house sitting around talking about their children's plans on what to do with the inheritance."

    LOL you and your sense of humour - that was a great one. I have been reading about how much the US spends with social security, medicaid and medicare and...my eyes nearly popped out...now I understand the fuss (a least a bit more).
    LOL what to do with the inheritance? You kill me...

    Looney, thank you for your input, man :D.

    Cheers

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  16. Ciao Gallardo :D!

    "(guess what ... every day i get old..!)"

    Who doesn't?

    "So how do i see myself when i got old? if i got old, well, for myself i do not dislike the idea of being in a home for the elderly (nurses .. ),"

    LOL nurses...I see *nodding*. You will be a terrible old guy, I can see it already...

    "and even if i do not have my love ones with me, but i'm capable of having fun, well i'll get through."

    Good for you, man!

    "My big question is, will i be capable of taking the decision, i mean, the idea of "being taken to" or "sent to" a nursing home is much like i'm not capable of taking a decision; i wouldnt want to be a burden to no one, but if i had €€ enough, i would got to a sunny place to watch sunset everyday."

    Indeed, being able to make decisions should be viewed as being more important than anything else. I value our mental capacity, and when we lose it *nodding*...it seems like we are being reduced to less than nothing, it's sad.

    "But i think nowdays most of the persons just get read of the parents as they get really old just for a matter of convinience and that just for itself, is not right."

    Agreed.

    "Is twisted, because basically most of the times parents raise their children with care and attention and as a reward they receive a nursing home as some times (nursing homes) look like a stock of old persons, wich is really depressing an sad."

    Indeed, indeed, my friend.

    "So our civic education should embrace also this subject (son you are, parent you'll be)."

    Absolutely!!

    Gallardo, we have grown accustomed to your wisdom...thank you so much for your superb comment :D.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete

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