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A Recipe for Combating Ageism

Poking around on line for a bit of inspiration I came across this meaty morsel written by attorney Orrin Onken and republished in Ronni Bennett’s blog Time Goes By:

The Older Americans’ Pledge

We will not be judged by the values of youth.

 We will not be expelled from work or play.

 We will not equate aging with illness.

 We will not be a subject matter for experts.

 We will not be the objects of condescension or ridicule.

 We will not be a social or economic problem.

 We will not be trivialized.

 We will not be docile.

 We will not be interned.

 We will treat our later decades as a unique stage of human development.

 We will grow and learn.

 We will integrate our social, our psychological and our spiritual lives.

 We will take care of our own.

 We will cooperate across generations to create a better world.

 We will nurture and guide the young.

 We will contribute according to our abilities.

 We will withdraw our support from those who seek to diminish us.

 We will be proud.

 By Orrin R. Onken, 2001

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2 comments to A Recipe for Combating Ageism

  • Mercedes Dunphy

    Thank you for your comments on aging. It is very reassuring to find people who advocate for the elderly. At 63, I buried my parents within 6 months of each other. My Mom had Alzheimer’s (although I tend to believe it was more dementia than AZ) and my father moved in with her to assisted living.
    Thank God I had been taught to respect the elderly. As a Latina from the San Luis Valley, that was a cultural “blessing”, if you will.My parents always treated their own parents with respect. That respect also included elderly relatives who were cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. So, like prayer, respect for the elderly is “caught, not taught”. As such, I mourned the losss of my mother’s memory. She was a brilliant woman, an elementary teacher who worked with the neediest children. She was a wonderful teacher. With her own offspring, she was demanding, and over the years we probably resented her, but it did make us stronger. It also taught us to be forgiving.(This, of course, took a long while). Now I’m 70 years old, and I find aging not very comfortable. Still, I am sharing my aging years with my six siblings. (There is only 9 years’ difference between me and my youngest one. She is my sister and an absolute dear.) As adults, we had to “unlearn” much of what we lived through, but we also learned to forgive. I have been blessed with a forgiving son, and a daughter who seems to be getting to that place herself. Wisdom teaches us compassion and gives us peace, or at least the capacity to achieve it, even if it is in “fits and starts”. I don’t know how graceful I feel over aging. I do feel grateful–for my faith, for my siblings, for my children and my six grandchildren, and for life itself–vicissitudes and all.

    • Hi Mercedes I very much appreciate your thoughtful comment. It’s amazing how much there is to learn this late in life. I believe that it is those of us who, like you, are open to this learning–whether it be of compassion, forgiveness or the expansion of our comfort area to include others that we may have overlooked in the past–who are the ones who will make the most of this final stage of growth.

      I wish you blissful aging.

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