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Another Respect Question: Respect for Elders?

Should we always have respect for elders? Even if their not our parents or related to us?


Is there anything that would make you not want to respect an elder?

(how much older does someone have to be to be an "elder" anyways? lol).

I've done nursing home social work and have come to the philosophy of unconditional respect for elders (even if an individual is not very nice, I still show them respect). After all of these respect question, I'm wondering how others feel?


Asked by NovemberLove at 7:27 PM on Aug. 23, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 13 (976 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (14)
  • Advance warning- I'm about to drag politics into this. My answer is no, they are not entitled to universal respect. To me, "elder" would be described as your parents' generation and older. For me, that means the baby boomers. Bill Clinton, George Bush, the heads of Enron, GM, Tyco. The stock investors who destroyed the market on junk bonds and inside traded their way out of the tech bust. The generation that introduced us to treating your child like your friend instead of a child, and the no-fault divorce.

    It takes more than age and experience to be worthy of respect, and I'll no more respect my elder, Charles Manson, than I will my elder, Hillary Clinton.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 8:19 PM on Aug. 23, 2009

  • Yes, they have been through a lot I'm sure in their lives, they may be bittys some of them but they should at least get a certain level of respect.

    Answer by MommaRox4683 at 7:34 PM on Aug. 23, 2009


    Answer by older at 7:54 PM on Aug. 23, 2009

  • I could not have said it any better "Older"

    Answer by gmasboy at 8:11 PM on Aug. 23, 2009

  • Small world- I'm a social worker too, and used to work with the elderly.
    I have a hard time defining what 'respect for elders' means. I prefer to think of the social work term 'unconditional positive regard.' In that everyone has value and I will endeavour to treat them as such. I have met many elderly people who I very much admire and respect (including my grandfather, who was the best human being I knew... if I could be halfway who he was I would be satisfied!) but I have also met elderly people who are mean spirited and difficult to like. Nonetheless, I think all people deserve unconditional positive regard- basically that I view them as human beings with value deserving of compassion regardless of whether I like them or not!

    Answer by Freela at 8:23 PM on Aug. 23, 2009

  • Because the Bible tells us to respect our parents it is required and He does expect it.
    Not all homes are happy homes and loving the parent is not always easy; but, it is a commandment from the Lord; so yes we do need to respect and honor them.

    An elder is not someone that has age on their side in the Believer's. An elder is a person that has the knowlege of God and is an elder to the young in Christ regardless of whether they are 20 and the young in Christ is 60.

    I do respect the elderly; most anyways. Because they have earned it. Again EARNED the right to be repected. Would I respect someone that murders people is a pervert or hurts children? Never and I am not expected too just because they are older than I.
    Most elderly people are respectful and it shows in how they live.

    Good question by the way!

    Answer by bloodbought at 8:26 PM on Aug. 23, 2009

  • I consider my elders to be anyone of a higher generation.  At my age that means senior citizens.  Personally I love old people.  There are some who are cantankerous old buggers but most of the ones I meet are so sweet that I just want to hug the stuffing out of them.  As a child I had a lot of contact with seniors, between my grandparents and my two elder spinster aunts.  I loved listening to their stories about growing up.  It was like listening to a living history book lol.  Having said all that if they are grumpy and miserable then they won't get a lot of respect from me.


    Answer by beeky at 9:32 PM on Aug. 23, 2009

  • to me an elder is anyone more than 20 years older than me (45+ right now) which would be my parents generation (my parents are VERY young). and usually they have to act like they are older & more mature than me. i will not respect someone who is my parents age & still acts like a shows that they have not learned enough from their life to just deserve respect. and sadly, theres all too many of them (maybe i should make it 30 years from me haha).

    those over 60 i put in a different class of elder. i always respect them. even when they say crazy old ppl things against other races or genders that was okay when they were younger. i dont have to like it, but im not going to bring it up b/c its not going to do anything but cause drama. sometimes those things are best left unsaid b/c no good is going to come from it.

    Answer by okmanders at 10:21 PM on Aug. 23, 2009

  • Thank you all for your interesting responses!

    NP, I understand your perspective and your feelings about it. Those are good points.

    Freela, YES small world indeed and precisely my point about "showing respect" which is not always the same as having respect (way to throw that SW termage in there! :-) :-) ). I think sometimes SW'ers can catch a bit of flack here or there for showing positive regard to every human being, because they are human, regardless of what they've done. Sometimes hurt family members will want you to know all about how horrible a resident treated them growing up, all the bad things they did and want you to be "on their side" and you yourself hold their feelings against this person for what they did. As a SW'ers, for us we know that's just not an option.


    Answer by NovemberLove at 10:39 PM on Aug. 23, 2009

  • BloodBought, thank you and I enjoyed reading your answer :-) Especially about Christians needing to respect mature Christians; that is so true!

    thanks everyone else too for your wonderful answers.

    I wanted to add that sometimes I think people receive and express communication differently depending on where and when they grew up which is the problem with the internet. So many times, a person is just an avatar to us. We can't see and understand where they're coming from and judge them accordingly to what we can see on a screen. I think online communication would be better if people had an idea of whom they were talking to, where that person has come from and why they think/feel/believe the way that they do. JMHO.

    Answer by NovemberLove at 10:48 PM on Aug. 23, 2009