Black History Culture : Honoring Our Elders

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by Destee, Aug 28, 2004.

  1. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Hello Family,

    While we can put much responsibility for the loss of our culture on slavery in America, and all the destruction to us that followed, some of it we must shoulder ourselves.

    I believe that one of our many great cultural losses is happening right now, before our eyes, and that is the fact that we do not properly honor the elders of our families and communities.

    In times past, and fortunately in some families still today, we hold our elders in high esteem. We honor them. There are rights and privileges bestowed upon an elder, simply because they are elders. No argument, no fussing, no fighting, but simply respecting the fact that they have lived longer and are due a certain amount of respect, consideration, and submission from those under them. No matter how right you may be, when debating with an elder Member of your Family, there is a part of you that simply accepts that there is not enough hours in the day to convince them that they are wrong (not to mention the disrespect you show by trying). So you respectfully listen, if you'd like the conversation to end soon, and go about your day.

    I remember a disagreement that my Mother and i had, which was rare, but i believed with my whole heart that i was right and was not satisfied to simply accept what she said (though i did have to shut up talking about it to her). Fortunately for me, my Grandmother was still living at that time, and i knew she was the only person that could give me the "okay" that i was right and my Mother was wrong. So i went to her, and received the guidance that i sought. Please notice that only an elder, of that elder, could overrule her. I would have been bound to what my Mother said, had my Grandmother, her elder, not overruled her ... for no one under my Mother was qualified to do such a thing (in my mind).

    As a child, i looked forward to becoming an elder. To be able to have the last say, to be the one to have life experiences and passed down stories on how to proceed in certain situations. To have the esteem that comes from living longer (and hopefully wiser) than those under you.

    Not only did my elders receive this type of high regard, but everyone took care of them in their old age. It was often a Team (Family) effort regarding who would care for the elder(s) each day. Depending on the elder's ability, someone was assigned to see that they ate, bathed, and did all the things they wanted and needed done. Even the youngest children in the Family helped with these responsibilities toward the elder(s).

    This is not to suggest that dealing with elders is easy! I've done my share of caring for them and they make you wanna choke 'em! But i believe this is a part of their right, having lived so long, to be able to have things exactly as they want them, one of the many privileges of growing old. So just suck it up and know that you are doing what is required of you.

    This is very different than the mainstream way of thinking. In mainstream America, everyone is doing everything to keep from becoming an elder. Even the gray hair on our heads, is changed to some other color. Aging is so very resisted. It's almost a curse, in this current culture, to do what's natural and become old.

    Folk also tend to neglect their elders, opting to put them away rather than care for them. Children are no longer being shown how to care for the eldest in the Family. This concerns me. It's as though the elders that should be teaching this, aren't aware that they too will be the eldest, in need of this same care and consideration.

    Please don't misunderstand, it's not about my becoming the eldest, and my children not knowing or being willing to care for me ... but it is about my children becoming the eldest, and their children not knowing they should honor and care for them. If we don't teach our children, how can they teach their children? The circle should remain unbroken, but we are allowing all kinds of breaks to be in it.

    This is one of the great pieces of our culture that was not stolen from us, for i have lived and witnessed it. Those before me, showed me how to do this, by their doing it. I believe far too many of us have replaced our own culture with what mainstream america thinks of the old ... and it is ugly.

    At the rate we are going, our children and their children will know nothing of caring for the old, and we are directly responsible for this. We should be ashamed of ourselves for not honoring and taking better care of those in our Families and communities that are old and no longer able to care for themselves.

    Of course i am not speaking to everyone, for there are many who still honor this long held tradition of ours, but that number is dwindling every day.

    If you have elders in your Family or community that you can stop by and check on, see if they need a loaf of bread or some milk, or maybe their floor needs sweeping or dishes washed, please do that. If you don't have any elders in your community or Family, perhaps take an hour out of your week or month and visit a nursing home. Sit and talk with the elders that are confined there, even if you don't know them. Be sure to take your children with you, for the greatest benefit in doing these things is not for you or the elder, but for your children and their children, and all those that come behind you.

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  2. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    um, how old do i have to get before i am treated good? :lol:
     
  3. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Brother JamesFrmPhilly ... there is no magic age for this to begin happening. In my family, it mattered not the age of the elder, but simply that they were elder to me. Children must be taught (shown) as early as possible, to honor and respect their elders. The eldest child(ren) must also be taught the great responsibility of being the eldest. If the elder is wise, fair and loving, as we'd hope all of them to be, they might begin receiving these considerations in their teens, from the youth beneath them.

    I know you asked the question in jest, but a Sister is seerus up in here! :wink:

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  4. OldSoul

    OldSoul Permanent Black Man PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Part of My 'Home-Training'

    I feel you, Destee. The Honor and Care of My Elders was part of what I call my 'Home-Training', or 'socialization'. I had to overcome the objections of my ex-spouse and her family to instill this in my son, because it (Recognizing and Honoring Elders) was not part of that family's culture. We got to continue to pass it on, pass it on, pass it on...
     
  5. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    so true i agree coz back then it didn't matter who it was we was taught to
    respect any elder person and agree even if we felt we was right my mother
    show us the way and my grandmom when she speak we all was like E.F.Hutton
    we listen right to this day the elder member in the family is the knowledge one
    where wisdom is to help us continue on but we have lost many many years
    to keep this going on and giving respect to our elders our children in today's
    world have none and because so many having children as children and don't
    know the history of family morals and our elders are our guide to help steer
    the future gang bangers , street thugs , drug dealers , is the key to many of our
    struggle and disrespect upon elder people :nono:
     
  6. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    so how come whenever i post knowledge that is clean, clear and correct, i get nothing but members falling all over their selves to argue with me and show me wrong? (see my thread on Serena)

    if i'm the oldest here, why can't i get so much as a listen from the young bloods?
    they post emotional arguments with no reference to reason or logic.
    (or spelling or grammar)

    the attribute of being old is that my hormones are spent and so my views are more informed by reason.
    this insight is of value but this community doesn't want to hear it.

    as an elder, i say that this family talks the talk but does not walk the walk, on this issue.
     
  7. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Sista Destee, I understand this subject to be quite important to you, and though it is to myself, OldSoul, Rich, and JamesFromPhilly, as well, I would like to know why???(smile!) I aint tryin' to start no stuff, Destee, I'm just nosy -ah, curious...(smile!)

    Yeah, I'ma be waiting on all of those monsta threads you gots fuh us up in this mug, because I like what you have to say, though you don't always say very much..(smile!)

    Brother James, I think the young folks DO listen to what you've got to say, but I don't know that they quite know how to take your honesty and candor... Implicit, sometimes, in that honesty and candor is a challenge to one to face unpleasant facts about the world and themselves... Some of us respond positively to challenges, some do not... I know that I've gotten a lot of great insights from yourself even though we've gotten into our little "tangos" at this board... I guess that's all part of working out the kinks...(smile!) Hang on in there, brotha, sometimes you so far ahead of the race, you got to slow down to let folks ketcha... Be Patient, God is not through with them yet...

    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
  8. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    my girlfriend frequently kicks me in the shins (and other sensitive areas)
    she may come back a few months later and say "you know, i now agree with what you told me".
    i'm like "that's nice baby, but i'm still healing from the last beating you gave me".
    i'm tough but i get tired of getting beat about the head and shoulders.
    will it ever end? :eek:
     
  9. OldSoul

    OldSoul Permanent Black Man PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Sharing info w/no expectations

    Sometimes we may post info that maybe no one post's to but a whole lotta people read. That's good too. I used to work in 'Talk Radio' and I relabled it 'Call-In' radio because that's how the owners/management dealt with it. It didn't matter WHAT you said, as long as you provoked people to call. When information is being shared that people are trying to absorb, they dont have time to call nor may they have anything to say. My proof was that I had the highest listener numbers but the least number of callers. Same thing here. You may post something that may cause/and/or inspire a reader to go in search of more info on that or a related subject, so they may not post a word. I believe we just have to put it out there, because it's a responsibility we've taken on. 'True sages are those who give what they have, without meanness and without secret!'
     
  10. MississippiRed

    MississippiRed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I was raised to respect my elders and I demand the respect of my charges below me but I was also raised by an elder...my Daddy was born in 1914 and raised me to respect the older folk that I was raised around but if I disagreed with something they said or they disrespected me to let them know ...in the right way of course...he raised me to never hold my tongue and to always let folk know where you stand..but in the right way....and if folk feelings get hurt and they want to cut you off then so be it......I will always present my point to the younger cats I know and if they disagree then I let them tell me what they disagree with and why as long as they do it in the right way.....I dont' have to agree with you to respect you...James and the older brothers on here man yall are where I'm trying to get..I'm only 34 trying to do things but if I disagree with yall I will let you know..no respect lost at all......

    Mississippi Red :grin:
     
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