There is no doubt as to the existence of a special relationship between the young and the old in society. In traditional cultures, the old provided the yardstick on how to go about living. Essentially, this meant that as a matter of fact, the older generation was undeniably a source of wisdom and immense knowledge to the young. The young, on the other hand, were of physical importance to the old. They served to preserve the dignity of the aging in society by offering to conduct special chores and errands for them. This was intended to reflect the biblical approach to living, which directed the young in the society to be of service to the old.
While this practice is still common in some primitive establishments across the world, there can be no gainsaying as to its corrosion in a majority of developed nations, where the idea of capitalism exceeds the nature of humanity called to help and assist the disadvantaged in the society. In contrast, young people in developed nations seemingly view older people as a burden, and often, the older generation is constrained to specially built homes for the elderly, away from the young and able in society. This paper seeks to show the relationship between the young and the old in the society in relation to Erin Schmitt’s perspective, and the author’s individual experience.
How I Relate to the Old
Erin Schmitt, in the story about Mr. Hertli, likens the behavior of Mr. Hertli to that of a child seemingly in need of very basic and elementary assistance, his former achievements and education notwithstanding. I dare say that this behavior is not unique to Mr. Hertli alone. Many other old people I have come across exude the same behavior. But in contrast to a child, who grows more intrepid as day’s progress, older people grow more helpless as they near end of life. It is this oddity that makes my association with the old to seemingly reflect the emotion of pity. I have...