Respect for our Elders

Maybe it’s because I spent a lot of time around older adults when I was growing up but I get enraged when our senior citizens are patronized – especially when it’s my own father.

My experience is that they are frequently more intelligent, wiser, more progressive, braver, calmer, more assured, more open-minded and have better senses of humor than their 20-something counterparts. 

Our culture presumes that they are conservative and not really “with it” anymore.

Many, many years ago I saw a very “cutting-edge” movie with my Dad.  I felt embarrassed.  He turned to me when it was over and said, “I guess that movie would shock a lot of people."  He was completely calm.

I saw Albee’s "The Goat or Who is Sylvia?” with an audience of senior citizens at a Wednesday matinee.  They were not nearly as shocked as the cool and hip audience when I attended the show a second time. (Yes, I know this in New York City.)

They’ve been there. They’ve done that. 

We need to remember that age can make people better and that people still have mighty minds and might wills when they get old.  Not everyone shrivels up into a pale imitation of their better selves. 

Maybe this isn’t everyone’s experience.  It is mine.