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Why are Elders Respected More in Only Some Cultures?

moderated by Phil Bartle, PhD

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Web Discussions

Contributions will be added to the top of this collection as I receive them

Date: Wed, 16 Aug
Woong Ki wrote:

Elders are more respected in Asia culture than other culture because of Confucianism influence. For instance, when the elders see teenagers smoking on the street, they give a good scoling like their sons and daughters. It's because and elders take it for granted that they have responsibility to amend the youngers' behaviour as member of society. What's more, although the society is being developed fast with technology, especially the elders in Korea is get used to it and try to find new method to transmit their wisdom to the young by making elders' community on Internet.

Date: Wed, 16 Aug
Inae wrote:

The reason why asian culture has more respect for elders is family structure.
In old days, the base of economy of asian country was agriculture.
Agrarian society needs an authority of leader in expanded family.
Therefore, the elders of family could get more respect than the elders of western family.

Date: Wed, 16 Aug
Emily wrote:

I don't believe that on an individual level we (Canadians/Americans) disrespect our elders.  My grandparents taught me a great deal.  One was particularily good at recognizing local wildlife, trees, and flowers-she facinated me.  I learned many other lessons. One of my grandparents was a carpenter who taught me to use a saw. Another had taught greek and latin in an all boys school and insisted that grace be said in one of the two every Christmas Dinner .  I believe that in Canada the resources that we had fifty years ago allowed us more time to care for family than we do now.  We had larger families that gave us security-the chances of having nobody with the resources to take you in was less of an issue.  The elderly were at one point an asset to our means of production rural communities. Not only did this mean that the chances of someone able to help take in thier aging mother-it was in turn a benefit to the family in daycare, cleaning, cooking, and other chores.  In urban communities our elders suddenly became physically unable to help in production and therefore became a cost.  With the already mounting cost of raising a family, and time consuming careers parents are more often out of the home. This leaves them less quality time to spend with their aging relatives and their children. With a lack of available resources in the home and limited time, we feel pressure to hire others outside of the family to care for our aging family members or put them into old age homes.  We do this not out of disrespect-rather we hope they will be better taken care of there where the professionals can watch over them. I believe that there is not a shift in how much we care for our kin, rather I see a huge shift in our economy and environment.  Knowledge can come in the form of experience, and that is what we need our elders to teach us- no matter what culture we are in.

Date: Tue, 15 Aug
From: Nestor M

Everyone is too busy ,and does not have time to notice them (Seniors).  In a busy society it is either you catch up, or you are pushed to the side.- Seniors and elders are pushed to the side.

In my African culture, after elders dies  their  spirit comes back to protect the family.  (Ancestral Spirit) This means if you do not respect them their spirit will not take care of you.  Leading to bad luck.

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