Care Through The Ages
In Delphi, Greece anyone who failed to look after his or her parents was jailed. The punishment in Athens for neglecting his or her parents or grandparents resulted in the removal of citizen’s rights. For the Greeks, the responsibility of providing a restful conclusion of life for the elderly rested, and still rests, on the shoulders of the children.
In China, the care of elderly generations has been influenced since the time of Confucius. Confucius described old age as a “good and pleasant thing”, which caused you to be “gently shouldered off the stage, but given a comfortable front stall as spectator.” Respecting the elderly has been a constant, which is deeply ingrained in the Chinese culture today. The punishment for disrespecting the elderly was to be paid in the afterlife.
Here in North America, a continent with a younger civilization, the history of senior care and responsibility is not as culturally defined. There are no laws revoking our rights nor a nationwide respected elder with writings from the past. Sons and daughters choose to care for their aging parents in many different ways, which is typically influenced by societal norms and cultural upbringing.
Despite where our ancestors are from, it is clear across cultures, nations and time, it is the responsibility of the young to care for the old. We give this care as an expression of gratitude, as an expression of love.