Respect for Elders

19 Jul

 

At the same occasion of the House blessing, something else was highlighted to me – that being, no matter how old we are, we still seem to bow down to the commands, requests and directives of our elders.

This feeling was compounded by my Sikh friend, aged 44 and a teacher at a Secondary/High school. He invited me into his home, I accepted. We were or are 2 people with common interests, independence and our own family units.

So, he called me in. He offered me a seat, which I accepted as I had already explained the physical symptoms of my back pain. But just when I was about to open the folding chair which was proffered, his older brother made an accusatory remark and commented that I should sit on the floor as a mark of respect to the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh Holy Scripture) and to the others who were present, sitting cross legged on the floor. I was embarrassed and without further ado, I complied to the bidding of the elder. I sat on the floor, albeit in an uneasy and uncomfortable fashion.

 

Afterwards, my friend asked : “When my brother asked you to sit down, did you feel like a child?”

“Yes”, I replied.

“I’m sorry,” he said “I felt so embarrassed for you. My brother does that to people.”

 

We agreed that it wasn’t so much his brothers approach , but the attitude or response we provided in return. Even though I’m 44, it’s only now, in the last 3 years that I’ve attempted to speak my mind, be outspoken and assertive towards my own siblings. I keep telling them that I;m not 12 or 126 anymore. I have my own life, issues and challenges to face without being treated further like a child.

My friend and I conceded that the relationships and boundaries we have with our own Elders is a challenge in itself and a cultural attitude which needs to be addressed and the cycle broken.

 

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