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Show Respect to Your Elders
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 - 10:49 | Views - 2,724
Throughout our childhood and teen years, we’ve heard the phrase, "Respect your elders," over and over, until it became indelibly etched in our brains. Naturally, I assumed everyone heard the same thing from his or her parents and grandparents, but apparently I was mistaken. As someone who has seen firsthand how older people can enrich the lives of younger folks, I believe that respecting elders should be high on the list of what we should teach.

Mentally put yourself in the position of the elderly person. How would you feel if people disrespected you just because you had gray hair, wrinkles, and a slower gait? Use the Golden Rule when you are with your elders.


People who have experienced many years of life have a different perspective from someone who is seeing things for the first time. With this experience come lessons that can be handed down. Doesn't it make sense to show respect for someone who is teaching you something so valuable?

Here are some ways you can show respect to those who are older than you:

Address Them Properly. Use the name they want to be called. Unless they tell you otherwise, call them Mr. or Ms., followed by their last name. If they want you to call them by their first name, honor their request.

Shake Hands. If you are meeting this person for the first time or if you haven't seen him or her in a while, shake hands. This is such a simple yet friendly gesture that lets the person know you have manners, and you're not afraid to use them.

Speak Clearly and Without Slang. Your friends might understand mumblings filled with the latest slang, but don't expect someone much older than you to get what you are trying to say. You don't have to yell, but keep your voice as clear as possible and be willing to speak louder if it's clear that the person can't hear you.


Make Eye Contact and Smile. When approaching or greeting your elders, always make eye contact. This shows that you acknowledge their presence. A warm smile from you can make this person's otherwise dreary day much brighter.

Offer Assistance. When an elderly person approaches an entrance to a building, hold the door and allow him or her to go first. Offer to reach something on a high or low shelf in a store or at home. Be aware of any disability the person may have and help according to what he or she needs. Anything you do to make their lives easier will be appreciated.

Give Your Time and Attention. Most people who are older than you will appreciate having your attention in blocks of time. Enjoy a conversation about a topic you have in common. Sit down with a grandparent or other elderly person and show that you care. Play a board game or watch a movie together. Feel free to ask questions about their experience, and then listen. If something is upsetting, chances are, he or she will let you know.

Show Your Love. If the elderly person is a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or other family member, show that you love him or her. Offer a hug and say something affectionate. Ask questions about your ancestors and offer to put together a photo album or scrapbook with mementos. You'll be amazed by how enriching the experience can be, and you'll most likely learn something new about your family. Teach your children how to behave among their elders.

Show Good Manners. Most of your elders were taught proper etiquette when they were children, and they deserve good manners from you in return. Always say, "Please," and "Thank you." They need to know that the generations following them are civil enough to carry on.
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