In this wonderful country of ours (and yes, in spite of all the bad things that are happening right now, it is still a wonderful country), we tend to focus on staying young rather than growing old gracefully, bountifully and beautifully. This is the exact opposite of many countries and cultures throughout the world; people are raised to respect their elders and to assist in their care later in life. In many countries it is considered shameful to put their elders in nursing homes or assisted living. Additionally, aging and dying are considered natural processes that are part of life, and are discussed within the family. In Africa, for instance, death is considered part of the natural rhythm of life, and children are raised to understand that this is nothing to be frightened about. There is no shame in aging, nor fear in dying.
Some cultures who still practice reverence and respect of elders are these:
- In Greece, all elders are respected because of their long time upon the earth and the wisdom they have gained.
- American Indians were raised within their tribes to call every woman “Mother” and every elder man “Grandfather.” They revered their elders and came to them often for advice; it was a ready treasure trove of wisdom and experience from which to draw.
- In India, respect and love are always shown to elders. In fact, many generations may share the same living space, and it is a practice that brings joy and comfort to them all.
- The Chinese cultures also revere their elders; in fact, turning 60 and then 70 are cause for major celebrations which can go on for days. There is pride in being older.
- Both Taoism and Daoism believers live by this philosophy: “Since life and death are each other’s companions, why worry about them? All beings are one.”
#1 Thing We Should Be Taught at an Early Age:
Aging and death are natural stages that humans experience. Aging means that body parts will wear down, and we may not be able to run and jump as we did as children. Our skin will sag, we will lose some (or all) of our hair, our nails will become harder to cut, we may not be able to eat the foods we used to, and gas will become a constant (and often noisy) companion. Knowing that we will age may help us to take better care of our bodies and keep them active and strong.
#2 Thing We Should Be Taught at an Early Age:
We should understand from an early age that elders should be respected if for no other reason that they have lived a long time and have experienced many things. It should be a no-brainer that children and young adults would be able to tap into all that wonderful knowledge and experience to learn what to do and not to do. It’s a win-win, really–young people get valuable advice that will help them in life, and the elders get to share their wisdom and rejoice in being needed and cherished.
#3 Thing We Should Be Taught at an Early Age:
Despite what many people think, bad moods, bad luck and bad feelings aren’t just hanging around in the atmosphere, waiting to drop down on us without warning. Many things that happen to us are not of our doing, nor are we targets for misery. The truth is that we can learn to control our moods. Once you now that and practice it, the whole world looks different. Examples:
- You wake up in a bad mood. So who says you have to stay in one? You say *out loud, “I feel GREAT! Today is going to be the BEST DAY EVER!” Repeat until the dark clouds go away.
- Through no fault of your own, you got laid off. Shockingly, this could be the wake-up call you needed to change careers. It may be the universe’s way of getting your attention, thereby forcing you to open a new door. You say *out loud, “I always wanted to do/be/try <insert business/career here>; now’s the time to do it!” Or whatever new door you want to open but couldn’t because of the job you had.
- Someone care deeply for hurts your feelings. You feel hurt, betrayed and angry. You say *out loud, “Hey, this isn’t about me. He/she probably had a bad day or something happened to make them unhappy. They lashed out at me because they were upset about something else. I don’t need to take this personally.”
Also, as the neat-o prize in your particular box of Cracker Jacks, here is an **exercise you can do as often as you like during the day to clear your head and heart:
Stand up, and starting at your knees, sweep both hands down in front of your knees, then move your hands toward each other (still at your knees) until they cross. From there, swing your crossed hands all the way up and over your head, then uncross your hands and sweep them down so that your hands are hanging by your knees. This clears energy literally from knees to head. Do it as often as you like for clarity. (Plus it’s fun!)
We may not have grown up learning these three things, but we can learn them now. Just these new ways of thinking can make a huge change in our lives and how we live them.
Just a thought.
*The “out loud” part is important. When you hear yourself affirming something positive, your very cells respond in a positive way. It can literally change your life.
**I learned this from the incredible Noreen MacDonald. Visit her web site at http://noreenmcdonald.com.