What age is old? What age do we hit and we suddenly become obsolete? Are you aware of your behavior towards all age groups?
I was watching a YouTube video of a popular American morning show. The video was taken by a member of the audience, or possibly a family member, and it caught an interesting moment. The filming began before the commentator begun the TV shot, showing her interactions with the audience members and her colleagues. The ‘for TV shot’ began with her interviewing a beautiful woman who was turning 100 years of age! The television personality spoke in a baby voice and leaned over as if to speak to a child. As soon as the shot was over, she stood, took questions and selfies from the crowd, and completely ignored the beautiful birthday guest. It was as if she didn’t exist except to make an obligatory check mark.
Recently, I was at a training for work. An older woman was our teacher. It was obvious she had a great deal of experience and understanding in the topic. Her wisdom would be to our benefit. However, as I looked around I noticed a lack of respect. One colleague even turned their back to the woman during instructional moments. I even found myself talking, like a distracted teenager, when I should have been focused. It was in interesting observation of myself and my friends.
A few months ago I was at popular American restaurant chain where my parents, and many others of their age range, frequent. I was puzzled and amazed by our servers interaction with my parents verses me, as well as, the older couples around us. She was snappy and demanding at my parents, where she allowed me time to choose and order a special dish. She was unpleasant and didn’t even try to be kind, where she put on a full smile for me. She even returned to her colleagues and belittled not only my parents but another couple. I could hear every word. It hurt me. She must have know they would not be able to hear her. It hurt to know that this was how my parents, who are healthy and full of wit, are being treated in the service industry.
I have been paying much more attention to these moments than I ever have before. I’m not sure if it is because I am no longer the “young one” in my career and social group or if it is because I wonder how people are treating my parents. But it has become something I am growing in concern with.
Do you have a friend over 40? How do you treat people over 50? What interaction do you have with those over 60? Do you value the thoughts of anyone over 70? Do you notice those around you over 80? Do you hope someone values you when you are over 90?
I would say I’m pretty lousy at all these things.
My intention it to honor my parents with the highest respect. They are strong, healthy, witty, sassy, smart, and full of the greatest sense of humor. They are the perfect example of love. Love for their children and one another. The may not remember what was for breakfast but they are full of stories from when they met or of each of us kids. I am abundantly blessed that God chose them to be my parents. However, I don’t know if I treat them with the honor and respect they deserve. How do you treat your parents? How do we return the perfect love they gave us?
Each day I text home just to make sure momma and daddy are still behaving themselves. Each day I get texts of busy chores, dinners, outings, and pranks they play on one another. It is wonderful! Each day I hope and pray they interact with good people. I pray that their servers with be patient and talk just a bit more clearly. I pray that the people in like at checkout will be patient. I pray that others will see my mother for her grace, sense of humor, and intelligence. I pray that others will see the strength, wit, and wisdom in my daddy. They are blessed by the years of experience and incredible stories they hold within each laugh line. I see the beautiful creases on many faces that can be read deeper than scrolling through Facebook.
We are busy with our own lives and seldom pay notice to parents and grandparents. Days of ‘respect to elders’ has gone. My challenge to you, is to pick up the telephone (not text) and call someone. If you read this entire blog, than it has touched you, and I bet, you can think of someone you need to call. Better yet, make time to spend time. Time as the most precious gift you can give and receive. It’s time we ignore social trends and return to the days of respect and admiration for those who have lived through this adventure called life!
I love you momma and daddy!