An Asian Christian woman living in London blogging about the everyday issues of religion

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Young and Old Need Respect

The Archbishop of Canterbury's new year message urges British society to care for the youth in this country. Dr Williams said that there was a national habit of being hostile and suspicious of the youth. To his message I wish to add that the same advice needs to be advanced in resolving attitudes towards the elderly. The gap between the young and the ageing population in terms of inter-generational respect and mutual understanding is far too wide.

We talk about bridging the economic gap on inequality but there is a deficit that exists in terms of human capital. The young are seen as slothful, predatory and as potential lawbreakers. The elderly are seen as being on the margins of society too. Both sub-sets of society have much to offer in terms of helping to build a strong ethical society.

The breaking down of prejudices could be triggered by watching the words that we use. I am a firm believer of the theory that language frames mindsets. Words such as 'olds', 'oldies', and 'grandpa' (unless he is your real grandpa) conjure up images of people who are not capable of much. The ageing population is showing us that there are many healthy older people who still have much to offer. 'Hoodies' and 'upstarts' are words used to describe the young. These labels immediately reek of trouble-makers don't they?

So, let's watch our language as we start 2012. Happy New Year.


  1. Great point. Last night we were at the birthday do of 70 year-old man who's just back from leading a team of skiers across the alps. (And that was his holiday!)

    Emma S (moonlighting under her hubby's google account!)

  2. Hiya,how fantastic to be able to do such lively things at the age of 70.