Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Change In the Tide?

  I remember reading online back after the earthquake in Japan a few months ago about what the efforts were like of the Japanese people to restore their country.  Of course, we hear all about the pastors and missionaries and churches that have been to Japan to help in the clean up and provide counselling and other services to the survivors and to those who have lost loved ones - to whom we are all of course very thankful for!  However, something that caught my attention was the fact that, of the citizens of Japan, the ones who wanted to do the dangerous were the elderly... The younger men wanted to work in this effort. The young men who were just getting married or had young families. But the older men, who have already been through so many life experiences, have already raised children, who are new grandparents, or old grandparents, were the ones that were very persistent on doing the dangerous clean up themselves.  Strange right?
  their reasoning is this in a nutshell: 'I have lived my life.  What good would it be for young children to lose their father from doing something seen as patriotic for their country?  They would grow up without a father - seeing their mothers cry and remain lonesome, working to provide by herself, living in hardship, without a male figure to look up to.  What good would it be to put the fresh generation at risk who are the ones to take over where we left off?  All that would be left are woman, children, and the elderly who have seen their days anyways. It is not worth losing men who have so much more life to life than we do who have already lived our lives. Therefore, we are the ones who will work in the cleanup and encourage the younger generation to focus on their families and taking over what we have left for them to do.  We don't have much left to lose as it is.'
  Of course, that is not quoted word-for-word, but that is the basic mentality of the older generation in Japan.  They don't let the world water down their ability and strength just because they are older.  They see the importance of keeping the younger generation alive, healthy and strong, and don't expect someone else to do their work for them.
  So does this sound strange?  I've never thought about it before, but no, this sounds pretty reasonable, like this is how it should be.  And I think that the older generation living in Japan right now set the better example in this kind of situation than anyone else does.  The typical mindset is that the young generation should be ready and willing to sacrifice a long life ahead of them, showing their children how to live, and keeping a household stable, and go give up their lives when the older generations are still kickin'.  Here around where I live, there are so many people between the ages of 45 and 80 who exercise regularly, can swim more laps in 10 minutes than I could in an hour, run farther and faster than I will ever personally would be able to, and lead a much more active lifestyle than those who have families and take care of what's necessary rather than themselves much of the time.  Yet the mindset of those between 45 and 80 is "leave everything to the younger generation who has so much to lose.  We are closer to death than they are, but we want THEM to sacrifice what they have simply because we are older than them."  It's a high school case of 'seniority rules'.  I've never thought about it that way before.
  I stand firm on what the Bible says about respecting my elders.  And I do.  I am not saying that we shouldn't.  But what is there to respect in someone who is more than capable of doing a job - nonetheless a dangerous job - than someone who doesn't have as much capability?  Japanese elders set a great and honorable example of the way we could be living.  But unfortunately, the world does not see it that way.  I could be out of line, but that is my personal opinion.

Here is the link to which I refer:


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