You shall rise before the grey headed and honour the presence of an old man [and old woman], and fear your God: I am the Lord.
–– Leviticus 19:32
In the twilight of their years, in particular, no couple sitting in the comfort of their home deserve to be set upon by the depraved and the villainous, and robbed of their hard-earned belongings. They are deserving less of being viciously stamped upon and bound like domestic animals for the slaughter.
What could possess an able-bodied being to break and enter a home and, upon confronting a most elderly couple, pursue such a vile and nefarious act against them for their own property, feeling not a tinge of humanity, not an iota of compassion, no respect?
How do these partners of many years feel secure in their residence any more after this horrifying ordeal?
Shall we now have the hearts of this St Peter pair skipping a beat every time now there is the unappointed knock on the door –– every time there is a strange noise on the outside? Must our elderly now be wondering at night as they go to sleep if they shall see the sunrise to come? Are we to become accustomed now to waking to reports of more and more of our senior citizens molested and brutalized?
All the reason why the relatives and closer families of the elderly need to look in more often on these aged souls, no matter how independent and self-secured they believe themselves to be. It was a point, we believe, crime prevention officer Station Sergeant Stephen Griffith, was endeavouring to make some months back to the wider Barbadian society.
Station Sergeant Stephen Griffith complained then that in many cases the elderly were neglected, by indifference, or by dint of long hours of work, making them targets for young criminals especially. The police officer reminded us that we needed to care for those group of people who were responsible for our being where we are today. They deserve our concern, considerateness, care and respect.
Only a coward, a degenerate who is unworthy of being a part of this society –– who does not belong in a civilized state –– beats up on old people and robs them on the back of it.
Our tested and tried stalwarts of Barbadian life are worthy of better. And this most recent aggravated assault on the St Peter elderly couple should draw our attention vividly to the challenges of our old. It will not be enough to look them up on their birthdays with a card and at Christmas with flowers and a gift.
As we have said repeatedly, growing old is an accomplishment pursued, for it speaks generally to continued good health, self-satisfaction with mental and physical alertness and companionship with friends and family. And we stress companionship, because loneliness and abandonment can negate good health and self-sustenance. That is why we applaud the support efforts of the Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP), the National Assistance Board and other such social agencies, including the Royal Barbados Police Force.
Growing old gracefully could be a treat –– if only we could rid this fair land of these young marauding robbers who would prey on our unsuspecting and trusting senior citizens. Publicly caring for and organizing regular social activities for our senior citizens just might keep the parasites, malefactors and villains away. Indeed, as we strongly hold, no such horrid and inexcusable criminality would occur in the first place if we were all of one mind in respecting, honouring and revering our old.
We must not fail in recognizing the invaluable part played by our elderly in the development of this country, by way of their selfless work and sacrifice in ensuring furtherance of education of their progeny, and in helping to construct and maintain this civil society of ours over the years –– if it is not be reversed by the repugnantly criminal acts of the evil ones in our midst.
Honouring the old man and old woman is more than a practice of good manners or adherence to good etiquette; and more than our acknowledgement of gratitude for their good to us actually. Honouring our elders is a statute of God Almighty.
The divinely ordered reverence can only translate into a better quality of life for our older folks and a deeper understanding of what the remit of the younger in society is.
Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old.
–– Proverbs 23:22.