In olden times our country had the joint family system. It was a nice system. Under this system the needs of all age groups in the family were looked after very carefully. It took good care of the children, the young and the old alike, without any reservation or any kind of pressure or pain to anybody. The old looked after and loved the children, while the young respected and served the old.
In modern times due to the urbanization and the job requirement of the young people the ideal family system had gradually broken down. The people are following western countries and nuclear family system is fast coming up leaving the old people helpless and neglected.
In search of employment the young people are forced to leave their ancestral houses which their parents and forefathers had built with the seat of their brow. They live in rented houses in cities and aged and the old people are left in the native homes. The old people feel totally neglected and sometimes they have to take refuge in homes for the aged which are run by some social organizations. “Old Age Homes” or the homes for the aged as they are called are a western concept, totally alien to the Indian people, but the Westernization of our society has given rise to this problem of caring for the old.
The young people think the old as unwanted burden and a source of hindrance in their progress. They find it difficult to meet the needs of the old people. They simply forget that their parents and grand-parents brought them up and scarified their youth for their good. They made all sorts of sacrifice for their better future. Had they not helped the young they would not have achieved the position, they are occupying now. They faced untold troubles and brought up the young with the hope that they shall look after their old age with care. Now in the evening of their life they need their love, attention and care. It is not a favor that the old are seeking. They want it as a return of the love and care with which they brought up the young during their infancy and youth. It is the duty of the young to look after the old people in the family. They must be kind, considerate and compassionate towards the elderly people.
Always remember that every old person had been young and every young person has to grow old on day, if he or she is ordained to live long. Experience, knowledge and wisdom grow with age. The elders in the family are a store-house of wisdom, knowledge and experience. Old people in the family should not be regarded as an unnecessary burden. They mat not be physically fit and active but they have mature wisdom and valuable experience which can help you at the time of crisis.
Here is an old story which tells us how the old people and their wisdom and experience is helpful to overcome a crisis.
Once in very, very olden times, the people of Romanian thought that the old people are an unnecessary incumbrance. They are weak and old and are unable to do any work. What is the use of keeping such people? They have already lived their life time. So they decided to kill all the old people in the country. All the old people above the age of fifty were ordered to be killed. Lots of wise and old people were killed and a store-house of wisdom, knowledge and experience was destroyed.
A young man had a great love and respect for his father. He did not want him to be killed. He hid him in a cellar and took good care of him. He always consulted his father in the time of difficulty and trouble. Nobody knew that the old man was living.
As the years passed terrible draught overtook the country and brought famine in its wake. The people had a lot of sufferings, troubles and sickness. The stores of food grains were fully exhausted. They did not have a single grain of seed to sow in the land. They were helpless to solve this problem. Everybody looked worried.
The old man saw everything from his cellar. He asked his son the cause of his worry. The son told him about the problem the country was facing. The old man thought for a while and then said. “Don’t worry, my son! Don’t tell it to any one for the time being. Take your plough and plough up the lane in front of your house, then rake it over.” The son did just as his father had advised.
The rains came and wheat, barely, oats and beans began to sprout out of the ground at some places. Soon the news spread about this unheard thing. The people were surprised to see a man reaping when he had not sown anything. The old man had advised his son to do so, because he knew from his experience that when the people bring their crop home many seeds drop on the ground in the way. He was sure that some seeds may be lying un-noticed in the lane in front of his house. He was proved right.
Soon the king summoned the boy to know the secret of his wisdom. After a lot of hesitation the boy told the king that his old father had advised him to do so. The king was wonder-struck at the wisdom of the old man. He asked the boy to bring his old father to the court, because he wanted to reward him. After all the old man had saved the life of the whole nation by his sagacious advice.
After this incident the people of that country did not kill their old people. They loved and respected them. The treated them as a valuable treasure for the nation.
Moral of this Story
You must love and respect your old people. Your parents and grand parents need your love and care. In old age people don’t have must to do, so they begin to feel lonely. They need your company. The old people become physically weak and inactive. The old age affects their mental health also. They become irritable and demanding like children. They seek your attention as the child does. The young people often do not understand this change in the behavior of the elderly people.
Old age is the most difficult part of the life’s journey. It is your duty to make this part of the life of the old as comfortable as you can. If a person is happy at heart he always feels young. If we keep our old people well and cheerful, they will always feel young and happy even in their old years. Besides the physical care the old people need your company. Sit with them and give them your company. Make the old people feel that they are not an unnecessary burden, but they are most wanted and loved. Give the old a feeling that you look forward to them for their advice and guidance in life. Make them feel wanted, respect, loved and cared for. Keep your elders well and cheerful, if you want their guidance and earn their blessing in life.