Should You 'Respect Your Elders' Even If They Don't Respect You?
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Should You 'Respect Your Elders' Even If They Don't Respect You?

The phrase "respect your elders" tells us that those who are older than you, often with authority over you, deserve your blind admiration.

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Should You 'Respect Your Elders' Even If They Don't Respect You?
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Sometimes I'm shocked by how people treat their parents.

Growing up, I might have slept over someone's house or gone for a play date, and I'd overhear my friend talking back to her mom or giving some sassy remark. With that, my then 10-year-old-self nearly choked on her own spit.

Even now as I enter adulthood, I'm always taken aback when I hear someone talk back to their parents or grandparents in any disrespectful way. Despite this, I know I shouldn't be.

Everyone's situation is different. I can't be sure how a mother treats her daughter when guests aren't over, and the iced tea and fruit bowls aren't out on the table. I certainly don't know every interaction occurring between two people, and the history leading up to a fight or a rude comment isn't downloadable (Black Mirror, anyone?).

Perhaps after years of that mother treating her daughter like something lesser, deserving only contempt, that rude comment was warranted.

Because I don't know the history, I am careful not to judge. However, some believe that a daughter should never talk back to her mother and a son never to his father. Whatever combination takes your liking, "respect your elders" is a phrase many of us have heard on more than a few occasions.

We've been taught that no matter the circumstance, you should always respect those that came before you, whether that be parents that mistreat you or simply older strangers that disrespect you.

Respect is something that should always be earned, no matter the age, gender, or other trivial characteristic of the person in question. Yet the phrase "respect your elders" tells us that those who are older than you, often with authority over you, deserve your blind admiration (disregarding any disdainful behavior). Meanwhile, you have to earn any respect you may or may not be afforded.

Whether you're five, 35, or 105, respect needs to be earned. It shouldn't be something that is given for free because of your age or social standing.

When it comes to someone who is considered to have authority over you, who is wiser and more experienced, don't respect them because of the year they were born. Respect them for their ideas, guidance, and intelligence.

And if your elders don't respect you, and treat you poorly due to your age, remember that its not your responsibility to respect them due to their age and cater to a crooked, ignorant rule long past its expiration date.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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