We've all experienced situations where people who are older just down right disrespect you, all because they're older. It ranges from people who are much older than you to people that are only a few years older than you. When I was younger, I was taught to respect my elders no matter what(1st Perspective), but I was also thought that respect is reciprocal, which means that if you respect someone then they should in turn respect you(2nd Perspective).
Just as there are numerous ways to skin a cat, there are numerous ways to look at this matter. Eldery people or people who are older than you differ from person to person and some may be sweet, some may be bitter, but the thing they have in common is that they've been on this planet a lot longer than we have.
We can never know the experiences that they had, the trials they've passed through, the hurdles they overcame and the victories they enjoyed.
In truth, they most probably have a wealth of experience that we younger ones don't have.
Whether or not they've been able to gain maturity from those experiences is irrelevant, the fact that they've seen more than we have is enough to give them respect.
That old man who is always bitter might not have been that way all his life, his experiences are what made him that way. To believe that the experiences you are yet to experience can't do the same to you is tantamount to ignorance.
I once had a long talk with a friend of mine's father, a rather elderly man who was already grown as of when the Biafran war took place, he'd been through a lot in life, but despite the fact that he'd been hardened and made bitter by his experiences, his words where not without wisdom.
He lectured me about the history of Nigeria, and the way forward, although in between he would drop rather disrespectful and unwarranted comments about me, his son and our generation but till this day, what we talked about that day still crosses my mind every time I see him and my respect for him and his wisdom is absolute.
People tend to feel that as long as they're older than you then you have to respect them, and by respect I mean that you have to entertain all the annoying and disrespectful things that they do to you without saying a word. Elderly people are the chief culprits of this.
Please not that this post is in no way meant to say that elderly people shouldn't be respected, it's to shed some light on the abuse of this privilege which so many of the elderly feel is an entitlement.
Respect is something that should be earned, age shouldn't be a defining factor for wether or not any one should be respected.
Respect should be based on maturity not age and in my experience, I've seen 21 year olds who have displayed a much higher level of maturity than 50 year olds.
I once ran into some trouble with a lecturer in my university, when the story was brought before my old man, the lecturer accused me of being disrespectful because I spoke up when he was saying something about me that was absolutely wrong.
The man stated that in his time, if an elder was talking to him he wouldn't talk back no matter what. It got me thinking, what exactly is the definition of the term respect.
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, Respect means to understand that someone or something is important or serious and should be treated appropriately.
I couldn't see how keeping quiet when someone was slandering my name was in any way equivalent to showing respect. Nothing in that definition said anything about age.
Looking at it from both perspectives, I came to the conclusion that everyone of every age deserves to be respected. Age shouldn't be a singular factor for who respect should be accorded, but it shouldn't be dismissed as one as well.
In truth, elders tend to know better in terms of their experiences but abusing the respect that is accorded to them for that reason is not and will never be acceptable.
Everyone should be accorded respect, if someone looses your respect, it doesn't mean you shouldn't still be respectful to them.
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