Respect your elders

When I was growing up, Mum told me ” respect your elders!”

The basics  were drilled into me and included:
1. Do not talk back to your elders
2. Always offer your seat to someone older
3. Never ask them their age lol

I’m sure there were others that I’m forgetting.
During my teenage angst, I rebelled as most do and decided that
in addition to joining Greenpeace and becoming a Vegetarian, I was now
determined to only give respect where I felt it was earned! It didn’t matter how experienced or senior the person was, if I didn’t think they earned it, I didn’t give it!
Thankfully that phase didn’t last long!
The inspiration for this post came this week, whilst shopping. The
Malls were already overcrowded and Bubs and I were battling with the
masses to try to at least get something from the list!
I was navigating my Double stroller, {which really should require a
license to drive} down a narrow aisle. I have no idea why stores
decide to stack promotions in the middle of the already bottleneck
thoroughfares, particularly at this time of year. I noticed a very elderly lady heading straight for us  with a walker. She looked a little overwhelmed. I didn’t want to put her
out so I hauled and heaved said stroller contraption, into the tightest of spaces to allow her room to get past. It was not an easy task but I was determined. I smiled
and encouraged her, feeling good about this very small thing that I
had done. When she reached us, she did not smile. She did not speak,
she bulldozed past running straight over my toe! Initially, I was shocked and then I was angry I  bellowed ” you’re welcome”! She heard me and looked stunned!
Is it ok for Older people to behave with a sense of entitlement? Do
you automatically gain respect for being older?
Walking away I suddenly remembered my training as a nurse where I did
some work looking after older people and it reminded me of a fantastic

What do you see, what do you see?
Are you thinking, when you look at me-
A crabbit old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with far-away eyes,
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice,
I do wish you’d try.
Who seems not to notice the things that you do
And forever is loosing a stocking or shoe.
Who, unresisting or not; lets you do as you will
With bathing and feeding the long day is fill.
Is that what you’re thinking,
Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes,
nurse, you’re looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still!
As I rise at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of 10 with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who loved one another-
A young girl of 16 with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet,
A bride soon at 20- my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.
At 25 now I have young of my own
Who need me to build a secure happy home;
A woman of 30, my young now grow fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last;
At 40, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn;
At 50 once more babies play around my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead,
I look at the future, I shudder with dread,
For my young are all rearing young of their own.
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known;
I’m an old woman now and nature is cruel-
Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body is crumbled, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where I once had a heart,
But inside this old carcass, a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells,
I remember the joy, I remember the pain,
And I’m loving and living life over again.
I think of the years all too few- gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last-
So open your eyes, nurse, open and see,
Not a crabbit old woman, look closer-
See Me.

By: Phyilis McCormack

As I walked away I could hear my mums words – treat your elders with respect! I tried to think, why would she have behaved so badly. Have we come so far that she was shocked and surprised that someone younger still had some manners? Did she live alone and had no interaction with anyone on a daily basis. I have no idea. I only know that by bellowing ‘you’re welcome’, I think I let my mum down on point number one, but on the whole I think I did ok, when I tried to respect my elders..


About yorkshiremummy

Born and Raised in Yorkshire, Now at Large in North America. Working Wife and Mum of 2. Occasionally sarcastic, Often inappropriate, but always real! Having snorkeled with sharks in the Maldives, ridden an Elephant in Sri Lanka, swum in an underground river in Mexico and played with Lion cubs in South Africa, currently enjoying the crazy adventure of motherhood!
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7 Responses to Respect your elders

  1. Him Up North says:

    I think the age-old concept of “manners” has given way to the broader concept of “respect”. That is a two-way thing regardless of how young or old you are. That said, the further at the end of the spectrum you are (v. young or v. old) the more latitude you get – “oh don’t mind her, she’s too young/old to know better…”. Remarkable similarities between little uns and oldsters. LOL.

    • Thanks for the comment. When someone ages, often their health deteriorates. It is so easy to treat them like a child. I never actually considered that she didn’t want my help. She was coming down that aisle ready or not lol

  2. Mary says:

    Thank you for sharing the poem. I worked in a nursing home and know first hand the issues the elderly deal with. But I appreciate the reminder this holiday season.

  3. neadypops says:

    Hilarious reading! will be following you on this blog.


  4. Even the Canadians, (People I have a lot of time for, thanks to their unfaltering hospitality and friendliness shown to myself and my wife every time we have holidayed there), seemed to have contracted the ‘Lack of respect’ disease. What has the world come to? Love the blog. Cheers

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