We live in a culture where elders are given their due place of respect. No matter what, they are always right. Even if they are wrong, they are still right. Giving respect, allegiance and complete obedience to our elders is a sign of flawless character and parenting as well.
While this is a great rule to abide by for life, there are some serious problems with this divine expectation. I feel these distinct lines should be blurred as time goes by. Imagine a 40 yr old woman or man still being expected to stay subservient to elders. Even when they are being manipulated.
After some point of time in your life, you see through people´s bullshit. And you respect people not because of their age anymore but because of their actions. Respect for me is a tall word. I can be courteous to everyone but respect is reserved for a select few. People need to earn their respect irrespective of their wealth, position, success, gender or age. Different people respect different things – for some it´s money, for some power, for some talent, for some intelligence etc. You can respect the same person for different attributes. The primary factor to earn my respect is character. I cannot get myself to respect manipulative people. Hey! To my defence, they have all my courtesy.
The serious implication is that this psychological arm-twisting is a sure-shot sign of bullying to crush your confidence and reputation at one shot. Well, one thing that I have learnt by now, is to never bow down your head before a bully. Bullies comes in all shapes, sizes, colours and ages. Always remember to never get intimidated by a bully. Or in some case, bullies.
Let me share this recent episode that I had with an elderly relative in the family. The incident is not an isolated event rather a connected one based on hearsay. Chinese whispers, you see! Anyway, this particular elderly relative (whose ways I can read like the back of my hand by now) calls me to clarify some piece of gossip that I apparently said about her. I immediately knew who the culprits were. There was not one but three mischief makers in this incident and the gun was pointed to my head. I told her very courteously to leave me out of this drama and gossip. I have no time or energy to indulge in this juvenile ´She said, He said´ business. Quite honestly, I meant that. I have no time for stupidity in my life. Anyway, she was taken aback by my firm request. I entertained no such talks. I told her categorically that she can call me anytime to ask about me and my family´s wellbeing. But kindly excuse me! I don´t have the patience for unnecessary drama in my life. She was shocked and couldn´t digest the fact that I had the nerve to take a firm stand. I called the second relative to blast him for the mess. Quite apparently, every one´s in a ´You scratch my arse, I scratch yours!´ deal. Also, people won´t change until their conscience pricks them hard enough to do so. As for the biggest culprit who is the third relative (yet another elderly figure), she is known for being a notorious mischief maker, chronic liar and an airhead. I couldn´t care any less to clarify anything with her. Why? Because as George Bernard Shaw says –
“I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”
I´ve stopped hanging out with pigs and hovering around their shit like a fly, a long time ago. And this applies to anyone and everyone, not particularly elders.
Do you feel the way I do? I would love to know your thoughts and experiences.