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EDITORIAL: Neglect Of The Wise

It is unfortunate that so many elderly people in our country and around the world are left to greet their aging process alone and without support.

Many elderly are mistreated by society, often in the form of blatant disrespect. They are ignored, looked down upon and put to the 'side' as though their existence was an extra burden.

There are myriads of negative stereotypes and ageist attitudes promoted by the media that only further infiltrate into governmental and commercial institutions.

Legal abuse occurs as inheritance issues come to the forefront of family members' motivation.

...they see younger people constantly approaching elders sitting on park benches and in other public spaces to ask them for advice or guidance... or even to just say hello and show appreciation and respect.

Elderly people often end up getting manipulated to give money and other possessions away before they are ready or because their mind is easily scattered and misled.

Youth is glorified in Western Civilization more so than ever before. The never-ending promises of anti-aging products created today is mind-boggling. If you have a wrinkle, you can surely get rid of it. If your hair is graying (or going) you can find a million different salons, hair dyes, potions and elixirs to fix the problem. Heaven forbid our bodies show some sign of having actually lived - not in a glass box with ideal temperature settings - but in the real world of sunshine and storms.

A large part of why the Chinese live long, healthy, productive lives is because elders are respected and revered in China. Citizens of this country whose parents were born and raised in China, say their parents love going home because they see younger people constantly approaching elders sitting on park benches and in other public spaces to ask them for advice or guidance...or even to just say hello and show appreciation and respect.

If only we could travel more lightly within the body, allowing our minds to give up their constant preoccupation with body- thoughts, then maybe aging would become an entirely different process altogether. If it's true that we get wiser with age than we suppose we should be getting spiritually younger as we age.

With time the hope is that we slowly relinquish our unhealthy attachment to form. The longer we live the more we know and the more we know the more beautiful we are, right? By shifting our outlook towards older people in our society we can actively create a new experience regarding the aging process.

Obvious strategies to help foster the aging process with care and compassion include awareness, education, professional training, strong protective laws and research.

Other more hands-on approaches include: encouraging closer and more positive contact between generations, the empowerment of elders (treating them as the interesting people with stories and wisdom to share that they are!), working in the media to help change the negative images of older adults in society, and providing recreational facilities to decrease loneliness.

We can all take steps in the right direction by reaching out to people in our lives we think might be lonely or isolated; ask them about their lives, show interest in what they have learned and what they are thinking about. Those who have walked on this earth longer than we have certainly have more experience and most likely -- wisdom and advice to share.

©

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Roald Dahl, author of "Willy Wonka" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" on his work and his years in boarding school:


A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
Roald Dahl

A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom.
Roald Dahl

A tuck-box is a small pinewood trunk which is very strongly made, and no boy has ever gone as a boarder to an English Prep School without one.
Roald Dahl

A writer of fiction lives in fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not.
Roald Dahl

All Norwegian children learn to swim when they are very young because if you can't swim it is difficult to find a place to bathe.
Roald Dahl

All those afternoons on the playing-fields and in the fives courts and in the squash courts made the otherwise grey and melancholy days pass a lot more quickly.
Roald Dahl

All through my school life I was appalled by the fact that masters and senior boys were allowed quite literally to wound other boys, and sometimes very severely.
Roald Dahl

An autobiography is a book a person writes about his own life and it is usually full of all sorts of boring details.
Roald Dahl

Cadbury's were using some of the greatest chocolate-bar experts in the world to test out their new inventions. We knew every chocolate bar in existence.
Roald Dahl

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