Honor your parents, teachers and elders
This one is a challenge for anyone raised under the influence of Western Society. The celebration of youth as the only time worth living in, as if you have to accomplish everything important before the age of 40, is a doctrine against growing old. Honoring one’s parents is viewed as a patriarchal out-dated ideal which young people should ignore. There comes a time when you become an adult, and you break free from the bonds of being parented. That is a perfectly natural stage of life.
But age brings wisdom, even among your parents. I thought my father would never be able to handle it when my sister came out as a lesbian, but he took the whole thing in stride. He had enough life experience to know that good people who love one another should be treated just like anyone else. I learned my Dad was cooler than I thought. Now that he’s passed on, it’s too late to have long conversations, but I honor his memory just the same.
There is much to be honored in living through all the trials and lessons of life until you become a parent, teacher, or elder. The wisdom housed in a wrinkled skull is a treasure of great value, it is a thing of beauty. Perhaps now that the Baby-boom generation reaches old age, we will learn to honor them for all they accomplished in the world. Here is confucianism’s take on growing older:
Age of spiritual maturity. At age fifty, a person should be spiritually reconnected with the Ultimate and be synchronized with it. A matured person should know the answers to the questions: “Where did I come from?” “What is the purpose of my life?” and “Who am I?” During this stage, a person should be synchronizing life energies with the systems’ needs according to mission and vision. Real life is only beginning, not ending.
Age of acceptance. At age sixty, a person is ready to take a spiritual journey that is the only way that he or she may actualize the self spiritually. Spiritual maturity will facilitate the acceptance of diversity and differences within the family or community and guide the community in leadership.
Whatever age we are, we are all on the path and have something to teach one another. Cultivating friends in other age groups can be awkward sometimes, but very rewarding.