Overcoming Ageism with Understanding
[By Jen Stengl]
For years during my childhood, I was blessed by living in close proximity to my grandparents. As I sit in my kitchen on this beautiful spring morning and hear the birds sing, I vividly recall their morning breakfast routines where we each had our assigned seats around their large dining room table. My grandfather, who I called Papa, would sit at the head of the table perusing a newspaper, while my grandmother – granny – sat at the other end by the kitchen. My place was always right between them, engaging in casual conversation while enjoying granny’s delicious southern cooking. I have so many wonderful memories of the times I shared with them in their home. What has stayed with me as an adult more than anything is remembering how they demonstrated every day their love of life and family. They gave me the gift of their wisdom, along with joyful, loving memories which I’ll always cherish.
Back then, we honored our grandparents and the thought of “Ageism” didn’t even cross our mind. However in today’s culture, “Ageism” is frequently in the news and becoming more prevalent in our society.
What is ageism? It’s discrimination against persons of a particular age group. Whether you are a senior and say things like, “Kids today are lazy” or “Young people are disrespectful and act entitled” or from a younger generation and feel seniors are debilitated, unworthy of attention or unsuitable for employment, you are contributing to ageism.
Overcome ageism by rediscovering the value of all age groups. Generations bonding together is not only a learning event but a time of building lifelong memories to be cherished throughout time.
The famous poet, Robert Browning, pulls our entire life span together, and the generations around us, both young and old, in a unique way:“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!”– Robert Browning
Looking at life through the attitude of “Ageism” promotes a negative attitude towards any age group. Whatever age it can lead us toward a prejudice approach individuals, not our generation. It can bring up a wall, rather than looking at the person with respect.
To change, we need to encourage respect for each other and experiences. That relationship and respect allow us the opportunity to use a person’s talent to better our world.
Don’t miss out on the valuable resources, relationships, companionship, and friendship each has to offer. Pay attention to the value in each person as a human being. Each of us can make a difference in changing how we view people we meet all around us. Change begins with me. So what are a few ways we can encourage each other to appreciate the generations above us and below us?
Golden Harmony Concierge, Owner