Elders as ‘Role models’

 I found this abstract in The Times of India

Although we boast of development in all fields and state that we belong to a modern society, I fail to understand how we measure development and what exactly we mean by “modern”. One of the many examples that come to my mind at this point of time is the treatment given by today’s generation to their elders. Can we claim to be modern when we despise, disrespect and ill-treat our parents and grandparents? Are our parents and grand-parents not responsible for what we are today? If they sacrificed their time, energy and money for our well-being, is it right for us to abandon them in the evening of their lives? Can such a cruel act be considered “modern”? If despising, disrespecting and ill-treating our elders is part of modern culture, I regret to state that the so-called modern society is destined to be doomed.

While this paints a sad picture, I believe it is also an opportunity for ‘Elders’ to re-define ourselves. If we aren’t looking for the value we can bring to others, how can we expect that others are going to find that value for us. What is our experience worth? Is it worth anything or is just outdated bullshit (family values, morality, wisdom etc).

In his last speech before he steps down, Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, told the House of Lords of studies showing that more than half of all over-60s already carry out some form of voluntary work, to “support the fabric of society”. He said that the unpaid care or volunteering work was worth the equivalent of at least £50 billion.

“We should start thinking of our ageing population as an asset. Incredible advances in health and medical care mean that people are living longer and healthier lives and older people continue to contribute to our society in many different ways – whether it is using their skills in the workplace, supporting their families or through volunteering and caring for others. People simply cannot be considered ‘past it’ or ‘over the hill’ in their sixties, seventies or beyond anymore. We have record numbers of over 65s choosing to stay in employment – providing a boost to our economy and generating an income for themselves.”

So our question has to be – how can I add value?

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