Asian cultures ultimately value aging more than American cultures because they know that the elderly have lived long enough to have accumulated experienced knowledge throughout their entire lives. Not only are the elderly wise, but they have also had plenty of time to gather endless amounts of practiced knowledge.
After interviewing Sophia Ha-Seon Park, a friend whom I went to high school with, I was able to get a decent picture of why Asians value aging. Before speaking to Sophia, I thought that I respected my elders, however I never held them to the high standards that she and other Asians do. Speaking with Sophia has caused me to change my personal view on the definition of respect.
In the past, I believed that respect was merrily a courtesy we sometimes give people of all ages. I thought that respect was optional as long as we continued to be good-mannered. Thinking that I was being respectful, I often kept my thoughts to myself if they differed from other’s opinions to avoid confrontational discussions that eventually lead to arguments. I now realize that this is all avoidable.
I now know that while respect is still important to give to people of all ages, it should be showered over my elders. Respect is a statement that we can wear on our sleeve; if we see someone else wearing the same ‘clothing’ as ourselves, we know that they will give back the respect which we give to them. Respect has never been optional, although I used to think it was. Respect is a necessity in all aspects of society. It is because of Sophia that I have improved my outlook on respect for not just the elderly, but people all-around.
Sophia Ha-Seon Park was born on October 27, 1995 in the city of Seoul, South Korea. Her father’s name was Yongrae Park, he grew up along the beaches of Byeonsan, South Korea. Her parents met while they attended the same college in Seoul. Seoul was also the city which Sophia’s mother, Inyoung Roh was born and raised in. When Youngrae and Inyoung decided to marry, Youngrae had to deal with the adjustments of a fast paced big city lifestyle after having lived near the calm, quiet beach all his life. It wasn’t until after the move that he had noticed a considerable difference in the way the youth treat their elders in the city.
At home, Youngrae was taught to respect his elders with no questions asked. When he moved with his wife to the city, he noticed that a lot of children would constantly ask the question “why” and tell their parents “no.” Where he was from, this was the ultimate insult to authority. Authority is not to be denied; youths are to respect the authority of adults whether or not they are deserving of it.
In the city, Inyoung grew up around kids who lacked the respect that was taught to those who were raised along the countryside. However, Inyoung was raised by people who grew up in the country and later moved to the city to find work. Her parents taught her that a blatant lack of respect for elders was unacceptable...