| Chapter 24
Aging Around theWorld: The Aged as TeachersWritten by Donald O. Cowgill |
To: Godfred Boateng Class/ID: SOC 1020 (250623906) | March 2012; Article Response 002 |
“Why have the elderly been devalued, and has it always been this way? In the introduction of this article, it was stated that one of the reasons storytelling by elders has been denigrated in our culture is due to “the elderly in our society are less likely to have valuable knowledge to transmit…” (132). Do you agree with this statement? Do you think there is a particular kind of knowledge implicit in this statement? Can you offer any critiques?”
The elderly have always been icons of wisdom; banks of knowledge and resources in many cultures over the duration of societies’ development. Their life experiences, accumulation of human understanding, and ability to ...view middle of the document...
Exceptions can be made to this statement; however, an older person’s ability to share current information is solely based on their values, beliefs, and personal efforts to allocate time in doing so.
Donald O. Cowgill refers to many developing groups of human populations across the globe. Ancient civilizations and tribes in remote areas are naturally going to rely on experienced elders rather than younger people simply because they have access to a very limited roster of information saturated individuals. This is in stark contrast to the many sprawling metropolises found on Earth today where information can be absorbed by almost anyone and nearly anywhere. Even with all this information, it is up to the elderly to involve themselves in the additional accumulation of knowledge rather than rest on previously acquired material. Many elderly people do this by exploring new technologies, staying up to date with news, finding new hobbies, and generally seeking out activities that are modern and innovative. Those that do not are often classified as obsolete and an impediment to societal development. Not in the sense that they have little to offer culturally, but the information that they can distribute is no longer valid in current times.
It would seem that implementing learning into one’s life as a continuous and lifelong process is a personal choice. Even among the elderly, those that do involve themselves in innovative learning strategies are appreciated and receive media attention and, on occasion, lucrative employment positions that advance modern ideas. Those that prefer to reminisce about their past and no longer have a thirst for knowledge may be less implicated in society as others. For future generations, this sets a precedent regarding the length of one’s productive life. If the elderly populations of today can establish that contributing to the advancement of the human race is a lifelong purpose, future generations will inevitably follow their lead.