By: Molly Gase
Respect is a difficult thing to come by. However, we all reach a point in our lives where respect no longer has to be earned at every turn of a corner and is instead shown out of the belief that wisdom comes with age. Aging is something that happens to each of us, regardless of the amount in our checking accounts or our position in society. The fact is that we are human and as such are just moving along a timeline that has an endpoint.
Some may wonder why the elderly deserve respect when we see them apparently doing nothing in society. But is what we see outwardly really the truth? An elderly person sitting on a worn sofa watching game show after game show does not seem to be doing anything worthy of praise and that oh-so-valued respect. But this is just one moment of a long life that is unknown to the young viewer, and must be viewed as such. Being idle is not equal to being a bump on a log. The supposed bump may have once saved a life or helped to create a new technology. In the same breath, you may be looking not at someone who was an innovator fit for textbooks, but instead a parent who inspired the lives of their children.
No matter what sort of character the person you may be viewing was in his or her youth, the wisdom granted with the passing of year is undoubtedly present. This topic is one that can be universally discussed; however, it has also appeared on the local level in Kent, Ohio, where elderly residents of a retirement community are being thrown from their homes to create new student housing for Kent State students. This is one show of disrespect to the elderly that certainly does not settle smoothly in the stomachs of many in the area. Seeing a sliver of what we may become being regarded so causally creates a mixture of disgust and terror for those of us thinking of people as a continuous stream of humanity instead of something that is used then disposed of.
Respect is something that we earn in our deeds and also in the years we spend simply living. Life brings with it many experiences that take a person from a single cell to a being who deserves to both be heard and listened to. People have to live life each and every day, with all of the trials and tribulations that accompany living.
Respect your elders not only because of what they have accomplished before your time, but also because you one day will fill their orthopedic shoes and have to worry about being thrown from your home.