With the baby boomer generation reaching retirement age and beyond, younger generations are becoming caregivers and overseers of their older relatives’ golden years. Children of the caregiving generation are aware of this phenomenon and should be taught the importance of respecting the elderly, for many reasons.
Aging Is Natural
In popular culture, some films, books, and music depict older people as unnatural, unattractive, and even horrific figures from a youthful perspective. In some ways this has contributed to a cultural gap between old and young. Also, since older people now live longer than before, they can seem ancient to children and teens, who may feel like it is neither necessary nor desirable to appreciate age. The age gap can be reduced or better understood when parents teach their kids to appreciate the wisdom and experience of elderly people.
The Elderly Deserve Respect
As a result of a lifetime of surviving harsh circumstances and losses, as well as generally contributing to society in positive ways, senior citizens have earned their right to expect respect and consideration from later generations. Children should be trained to view age as an achievement rather than as a burden. They can also learn that older individuals deserve appreciation for serving in the military, building successful careers, and raising families. Since life is cyclical, kids need to realize they are expected to follow in the footsteps of their successful elders.
Children Will Be Caregivers Someday
Just as children’s parents are now caregivers for their parents who are the kids’ grandparents, someday these children will become caregivers for their parents. They should learn how to respect the elderly population and treat them with consideration. Many aging people also deal with mental and physical infirmities, and kids should be learning about the widespread need for respecting the elderly in conjunction with the senior years. Understanding the range of changes that take place over a lifespan can help to prepare your children for their own lives ahead.
Elders Have Much to Teach Youngsters
In addition to simply honoring the aged for their life achievements, children need to understand that there is much to learn from older people, whether their grandparents or a trustworthy neighbor. Senior citizens have experienced things the younger generation has yet to do, and the elders can offer helpful advice, suggestions, and insights to navigating an increasingly challenging world.
Teach your children to respect their elders. Mutual respect should be passed from one generation to the next. Respect must be taught, so teach your children well each and every day of their lives.
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter @RachelleWilber