Honor Our Elders

Who are the elders in our families and communities? Often, they are people who have paved the way for the things we take for granted now. The oldest has been through the depression, suffered through the holocaust, or fought in World War II. Some have broken through racial or gender barriers to take their place in a society that didn’t want them there or protested discrimination so we can take it for granted that of course we can hold hands in public, get married, and keep our jobs when we come out. Our elders have lived through trials and losses, and have worked hard to raise their families and keep things together through hard times. The good ones have loved us unconditionally when we most needed that kind of love.  My father and aunt were that kind of people for me. How can we repay those gifts? Bring them tea, make their lunch and dinner, do the tasks that they don’t want us to know they are too tired to do. Visit often, accept their advice, offer them a seat. And take the time to sit and listen to their stories. Ask them questions about their lives and listen without impatience as they tell the whole circle of the story. And if they are willing, record their stories to be shared with the next generations.  My parents and aunt have passed away now, so I’ll need to find the elders in my community who I can honor and listen to. What a gift to myself!

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