I remember as a child growing up, hearing my mom and dad tell me often to always ‘respect my elders’. Back then I suppose I assumed ‘my elders’ were simply my parents or grandparents. Thankfully, as I grew older I learned that I had elders to respect both by blood and basic humanity. Essentially, elders were just about anyone who was older than me but, probably more specifically, those who were many years older.
Looking back, I cannot thank my parents enough for their wisdom in teaching me this great advice. I discovered it was something each of my grandparents had taught them. I have done my best to honor all of them.
Respecting our elders is a very honorable thing to do. But I believe it goes way beyond honorable. It’s actually a mandate. The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Ephesus church to honor your father and mother and added that if you do, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” (check out Ephesians 6:1-3).
At Lighthouse Christian School, we obviously believe in and try to always follow the commandments of the Bible. Throughout its pages, we are taught in many times to respect our elders and the elderly. In fact, there are dozens of verses that give us instruction in how to respect, honor, obey, listen and care for our elders, all of which we would do well as a society to heed.
Even the oldest book of the Bible (Job) gives us some insight in how to respect our elders.
Unfortunately, in our day and age, it seems as though these instructions are more often not taught and even intentionally avoided. That's probably more an indictment on us elders for not teaching what we should. Be that as it may, let’s commit to move ahead and do what we are supposed to do.
Leviticus 19:32 says to “Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged.”
Whenever an elderly person comes into the room, ALWAYS stand up.
Here are a few other ways we can all truly honor our elders:
Give elderly people your time and assistance. Visit them where they are.
Avoid slang. Use manners when speaking to them. Don’t talk to them how you would your friends. And don’t ever speak harshly to an elderly person!
Listen to them. We all love telling folks our stories and want to be heard. So listen to stories about their life.
Be patient with them and be a friend.
One final reason to honor your elders: They made it through school without Google or Wikipedia.