Pope Francis announced Sunday the establishment of an international day to honor grandparents and the elderly to take place each year on the 4th Sunday of July. He said, “Their voice is precious because it sings the praises of God and safeguards the roots of peoples,” he continued. “They remind us that old age is a gift and that grandparents are the link between generations, passing on the experience of life and faith to the young.”
It’s very timely because society is getting more and more dependent on social media and the internet for answers. The youth seek advice from research and social media and other sources of information than their elders. This is slowly resulting in ignoring our elders as they lose their value as guardians and advisers or counsellors. Some elderly are regarded as burdens because of their age and sickness. They receive a condescending treatment or at best a patronizing treatment from their younger relatives. It doesn’t help that the movies and stories deal with “uncommon” or rebellious behavior that undermine traditional values.
The people of the world are becoming youth- oriented. Probably business is to blame for developing and advertising products that glamorize youthful appearance. Marketing principles say that they respond to market needs, but they also highlight these needs . even create them in some instances. They feed on people’s insecurities. It’s good if these are products about health that will make people keep their body strong and healthy , attributes associated with youth. But most of the time products are about external appearances.
I wrote about grandparents on Grandparents Day that “Honoring our grandparents and the elderly is a valued tradition in the Philippines even before a Grandparents Day was ‘invented’ or proclaimed. Our grandparents live with their families. Even at present, there are few homes for the elderly in the Philippines which are resorted to when there are no better options for home care.” The World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly will help in keeping this tradition.
I’m glad the Pope specified the elderly. I’m happy for all single people who are not parents much less grandparents. I’m happy for all the married people who tried to have children but failed. I’m happy for all religious who have embraced single-blessedness. Let’s honor and celebrate all people who spent their youth contributing to rearing children in their own ways , in rearing society in whatever capacity.