Talking To Elders
Talking to someone who is older than you is a very tricky situation. Like in the picture, they might have a funny sense of humor, but you won't know that until you follow the rules.
Even if you know them there is something very important to understand. Unless they have a mental disability, they know more than you do. In fact, the older they are, the more they know of things you were never taught nor will ever need to be taught. This information is valuable in several ways.
1. Respect, unless this person is a criminal, (even then a distance polite is appropriate if you come in contact with the.) is something you must give that person. Even if their information is useless to your perception of needs, your view is narrowed to your experiences, theirs include your experiences and they can see where your path deviates when you cannot. Even if you will be unable to fit that knowledge in your needs there is absolutely nothing wrong with knowing it-just in case. Just In Case is the condition where suddenly you do need the information stored in that mental file of, I don’t need it. Having extra information laying around is super important, because you never know if you will need it.
In some cultures, and in specific since I know about the culture I am talking about; my husbands, he is an Inupiaq Native American, it is unforgivable for children to not be taught to first respect their elders, then to be schooled in part by them as they grow into adulthood, but once they reach adulthood themselves they are responsible for being a part of the caregiving to any parents and grandparents in the family. This includes any unattached tribal members who have lost all of their family members. When you teach this behavior in any culture your children will grow up connected to every aspect of the family. This has a joyful and soothing effect long term on a person’s deeper, inner self. Wee have applied this behavior in our family and it has been very affective to the overall mental health in the family core and each individual.
2. Courtesy is the next important consideration. Interrupting an elder no matter if they are your elder or someone else’s, is not appropriate. It does not matter if they talk slow, repeat themselves, have opinions that you don’t believe in, you still have to wait out their conversation and contemplate if fairly this means to listen quietly take the time to let the information in and think about it. Refer to the first paragraph, respect. You may come in contact with someone who is your superior who has the same opinion, it helps you relate to them. Of course, the two go hand in hand so it is important to instill in a child these two things.
Remind them buy not allowing them to interrupt or to become demanding, especially if the elder is frail.
3. Love is another important thing you can teach a child. Not the romantic love but a selfless love of the people around them who are older. It helps with their ability to be kind and gentle and it teaches the child that interacting with people through a loving nature makes it easier to be respectful as well as courteous.
4. Knowing all these things allows a child to ask questions or to just converse in a positive manner, without making the elder feel that they are not valued as important. Everyone wants to feel that others think they are significant.
5. Teach them to look in the persons eyes when talking to them. This helps a child learn how their comments, questions and discussions are affecting the other person, this helps the child learn to not make comments that are hurtful. It also helps the elder feel that they are an important part of a conversation. It does matter.
6. Teach the child that by learning the things that the elder knows, their own lives will be richer. Teach the child to value this type of knowledge. The child will grow to be a better adult.