Once life is conceived in the womb growth begins, the fetus begins to develop and it is expected that within nine months the baby will be ready to be born into the world. As soon as a child is born we begin to watch his/her growth by counting days, months and then years. Soon we celebrate the 1st, 10th, 16th, 18th, 25th and progress to the 40s, 50s, 60s then 70s. So we start to age from the womb and move from being an energy driven youth to adulthood and old age eventually comes.
We have become too selfish and we think that older persons are burdensome (Margret Michael)
In order, words take a close look at that older person close to you or you meet in the bus, street, religious place of worship, neighborhood and shopping mall; you are going to become a senior citizen too one day. Therefore start to treat the older persons around you the way you would want to be treated when you become one too.
Many young people find it difficult to understand elderly persons and this takes affects how they treat them. Older persons cannot understand why younger people are always in a hurry and younger persons feel that Seniors are difficult to deal with. So how can we bridge the gap in creating better relationships between the different generations?
Let me share some interesting points from a workshop I was privileged to be a part of. Present In the dialogue forum was older persons and youths.
Mrs. Theresa Michael the Global Development Coordinator of Momi Africa in her welcome speech explained that the dialogue forum coming under the platform of the Youth Entrepreneurship in Service to Seniors and Society (YESSS) Project is intended to raise a crop of young people who will be of service to the elderly.
Myths about old people:
• Helpless and slow
• Are nice but very difficult
• Older people don’t really like youths and kids
• Young people can’t learn anything from the old
• Old be are old and should no longer live their lives
• Old people are ugly and are witches/wizard
• Young people are cool but old people can no longer enjoy their lives.
She summarises it by saying; “If we want to grow old; why are we hostile to the elderly”.
Old people have emotional needs: Pay more attention to them
Important points from the Keynote Speaker, Mr. Dan Uhimwen of Dagomo Foundation at the workshop:
Gaps Between Young /Older Persons
- Ageism – discrimination against Seniors because they are old – That they can no longer enjoy life even as young people do.
- Branding of the older persons as witches evil by NollyWood/Media, Religious bodies e.g “old woman in your village”.
- Technology: Teach older persons how to use their phones/ help them to be technologically savvy.
- That the older people are the ones that have messed up the country is stereotypes believe.
Older Generation mindset
- Youths are Lazy
- Believe that they don’t need technology that it is for the young people.
- Feel young people don’t know anything
- Feel that young people dress indecently/Not God fearing
- Young people don’t want to work, they want easy money.
- Like shortcut; don’t
Action Point/Solution: Work on and modify our culture so that young people and seniors can improve the relationship between the generation. Respect should be earned, we are very conscious of respect. True respect comes from within, it goes back to a person’s values.
Youths can volunteer to serve older persons in various capacity: run errands, help ckean/cook for them; visit & spend time or call them.
Benefits of Bridging the gap:
- Provides an opportunity to pass on values and skills, knowledge, preserves history.
- Strengthens understanding
- Addresses fear that your versus old people have about each other.
- Visit your hometown, let your children know their grandparents.
- Helps youth to accept their aging- to know that you are also going to grow old
- Help to reduce depression and loneliness
- It invigorates and energizes older adults
- Fills a void for children who don’t have grandparents
- Bridge the technological gap; Teach your elderly one how to use their phones.
- Helps to broker peace in homes and society
Stop the bulking passing and take responsibility for the change you want to see in the society
Over 75% of people engaged in crime and in prison awaiting trials are from broken homes. Therefore the family unit is very important to raising responsible young people.
Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
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