You wouldn’t think this is Senior Citizens Month! Not with the lack of inspiring announcement of the dedicated celebratory time to our elderly, and with the absence of the remotest of fanfare.
Perhaps, we have been preoccupied with the demand of tuition fees at the University of the West Indies and its consequent and marked slip in registered students. Perhaps we have been consumed by the back to school challenges cum $250 schoolbags. Maybe we have been gripped –– in fear –– by the increase in aggravated robbery and the gangster-styled shootings.
Whatever it has been, we need to shake a leg and get on with dedicating especial attention to our elderly, as is customary at this time of the year, and acknowledging by public recognition the sacrifices they have made for the younger of us, and the good that attended us all on account of their will and hard work.
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.
Clearly, honouring the old man and old woman ought to be more than the practice of good manners, or an exercise in good etiquette –– even more than an expression of gratitude for their good to us. Honouring our elderly is a statute of God Almighty.
This reverence can only translate to a better quality of life for our senior citizens and a deeper understanding by our young of the path they must ultimately take as well. This respect will also help in the accommodation generally of the elderly’s continued and expected contribution to our society.
The considerateness, respect and care for our elderly –– which we promote here –– are not for exhibition in September, Senior Citizens Month, only. Yes, we are all for the annual celebration and usual period of activities marking such, but let all this, each year, be the culmination of the preceding months of affection, endearment, safekeeping and benefit.
And it wouldn’t hurt to have these qualities of caring and closeness inculcated in our very young in our very homes and schools, reaching into our business places, engulfing the society at large.
For the most part we have much to be grateful to our elderly for. This alone makes it our bounden duty to ensure they are never the victims of crime and disorder; that their lives are never made a misery by the schemers, boors and culprits among us –– who for selfish benefit would think nothing of plunging the twilight years of our old into infinite darkness.
It is no revelation that many of our old people have been exploited and abused physically, mentally and emotionally in divers ways –– even by their very own; and worse yet by some religious leaders.
Under no circumstances should those of us who go to church –– in particular the old who believe it is time to make peace with their God –– seeking solace and spiritual comfort ought to be taken advantage of. Our elderly must be protected from these wolves in sheep’s clothing!
Leaders, in church and out, along with families, must have it as their responsibility to see our aging and aged continue to benefit from social and restorative justice. And we must do much more than articulate our senior citizens’ unnecessary challenges and undeserved plights. We must eliminate them.
The more and more aging of a society that Barbados is becoming emphasizes the required practice of us all in fostering a culture of especial care for and of our seniors. We have often been reminded that it takes a village to raise a child. We aver it takes that same village to secure that very child’s aging parent.
Caring for and sharing with our elderly is one great responsibility we as a society have, for these honourable elderly who have walked before us have given us much, making possible the life we now so much enjoy –– and often take for granted.
Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old.
–– Proverbs 23:22.
Growing old can be wonderful –– especially without the exploiters, thieves and robbers who would prey on our unsuspecting and trusting elderly. Naturally, no such criminality would take place if we were all of one mind in honouring our old.
May we never forget the contributions and sacrifices made by our senior citizens in their youthful days; may we never cease to recognize their efforts publicly; and may we forever be grateful.
Without our elders, none of us would be here, for sure. We owe them our lives, our love and our respect. Let us lend them our ears, give them our hearts –– and despise them not!
Let us really get on with truly bigging them up this Senior Citizens Month!