What is the role of Elder in our current society?
December 30, 2007
In the letter from the editor, Sarah Ruth van Gelder, in the Fall, 2005 issue of YES! magazine says a number of good things like:
"In traditional cultures, elders have often been the ones who take a stand for the well-being of not just themselves but of future generations."
"The good news is that the largest cohort of elders ever to live at one time has arrived. What we don’t know is what sort of leadership these elders will offer and what sort of life they will choose to lead."
"The truth is we need each other across the generations. And in this time of mounting crises, we need our elders to act as elders and take a stand for the next seven generations."
I have heard this idea before that the role of the elder is to take a stand for the next seven generations but it has taken on new meaning for me now as I reflect on my own aging and what I want to do yet before I die.
How will the Iraq war affect the next seven generations? Global warming? Not providing our children with health care? Locking up so many people of color in prison? Bashing and discriminating against immigrants who pick our crops? Moving to a global economy and screwing our neighbors out of jobs so Wal Mart stock stays high? The increasing disparity in our democracy where the government favors the rich top 1% and screws the rest of the people?
I think as we enter this campaign season choosing leaders for national leadership we should be thinking about the next seven generations and not our stock portfolios.
It's a question of values in the end - do we look out and speak up for the common good or do we protect what's ours?
Today I am adding a new category on my blog called "Elderhood". I will be exploring what it means to be an elder in our current society.
To Sarah Ruth van Gelder's whole commentary which I highly recommend, click on the link below.