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January 2009
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Month Day
Topics: empowerment,mindful parenting,relationships,Unschooling,vegan,words

Are older lives valued more than younger lives?

I’ve noticed that in our society, older lives are more valued than the youngest ones.

Everyone is expected to be deferential and respectful of the elderly (no matter how they treat other people, nor how important they are to a situation).  Yet, children are often ignored and treated rudely.  When I go shopping, I almost always see an elderly person who is being treated extra special (doors opened for him/her, polite words used to them, etc.) and in the same trip at the same store I see children being treated harshly and rudely for mundane things such as asking what items are.  This isn’t fair!

We’ve even extended this to our animals.  Older animals are highly regarded and left alone to “live in peace”.  They are often even granted freedoms that their younger counterparts aren’t granted, such as the recent 140 year old lobster who was sent back to the sea.  Everyone applauds when the President pardons a turkey every Thanksgiving.  Yet, young calves are slaughtered daily for their “young tender meat” which is then renamed as veal.  This isn’t fair (and quite a bit sneaky)!

If anything, it should be the youngest of us who are granted the most respect and freedoms – they have had less experiences and less life lived.  We should be treating them highly, with honor, showing them that all beings are worthy of respect – no matter their age or gender.  This is the heart, or root, of the Unschooling lifestyle.  We’ve discovered a way to treat our very youngest in such a free and respectful way that they grow up believing everyone should be treated that same way – and thus, they become the very best examples of humans possible.

I love the idea of treating others kindly and respectfully, but it should be extended to all people and all animals.  Not just the old and not just the females.  Try opening a door or otherwise helping a young person.  Smile at the frazzled mothers you see and encourage their parenting skills – offer to help if she seems overwhelmed.  Ask the big burly man if he’d like help loading his car – maybe he has a hernia, but is too embarrassed to ask for help.

Value your children and all the young beings around you.  Respect them and listen to them – they have great ideas, too.  Sure they are young and inexperienced — all the more reason to be their guide and protector, not a reason to belittle them even more than their size and lack of inherent power already does.  Give them the power they deserve.  You will empower yourself as you empower everyone around you to be the best that you can all be.