Does an older person's opinion count more than a younger person's? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-27-2007, 11:42 AM
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Do you dismiss people's ideas based on their age? Do you give more weight to the views of someone you perceive as an "elder"?



Does age nearly always equal more experience with a given topic, and therefore more authority?



Conversely, I've noticed some people (generally people under 25) discounting the views of people in older generations because they don't think the older people understand their experiences. I've heard people over, say, 60, complain children and young adults do not respect their elders the way previous groups of children and young adults did. Is respect something we should give to all people regardless of age, and if so, is there a reason to respect all "elders" more than younger people before you get to know them and appreciate their views?

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#2 Old 07-27-2007, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by skylark View Post

Do you dismiss people's ideas based on their age? Do you give more weight to the views of someone you perceive as an "elder"?

It's situational. A younger person may lack the life-experience to comment with authority on a particular subject, but then they may also bring a fresh and unique perspective to a discussion irrelevant of their age.



Quote:
Does age nearly always equal more experience with a given topic, and therefore more authority?

It can do. But then well-informed people can still hold idiotic opinions.



Quote:
Conversely, I've noticed some people (generally people under 25) discounting the views of people in older generations because they don't think the older people understand their experiences. I've heard people over, say, 60, complain children and young adults do not respect their elders the way previous groups of children and young adults did. Is respect something we should give to all people regardless of age, and if so, is there a reason to respect all "elders" more than younger people before you get to know them and appreciate their views?

Respect should be earned - not owed. If an older person demonstrates the wisdom that one might expect from someone of their years, then they're deserving of respect. But equally if a younger person demonstrates a wisdom that belies their you, they too are deserving of respect.
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#3 Old 07-27-2007, 11:55 AM
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just recently i have been hanging out with one of my grandmas who is recovering from a surgery (not life threatening, but uncomfortable) and talking with her a lot...though she needs frequent naps we've had a blast



i think the world of both my grandmas and have learned a lot from them. both of them i think enjoy my irreverence concerning some things because they are that way too! yeah some things they won't ever understand much (my fake leopard skirt or hardcore punk music hehe) but other stuff we end up on the same wave. it's cool.
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#4 Old 07-27-2007, 12:01 PM
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Speaking from my own personal experience I'm way more likely to respect a younger person's opinion than an older person's. But that's just because my grandmother has yet again meddled in and manipulate our lives because she knows what's best for everyone and is holier than thou and can do no wrong.



On a matter of younger people not respecting the older generation: I haven't seen much of the older generation giving us much respect. Some of the rudest people I have ever encountered have been over 70 at least. I think I'm pretty polite to everyone: I always say thank you, let people off the bus before me, wait at doors for other people to go through etc yet I hardly ever get thanked by older people only middle aged and younger people. One on occasion my sister was treated like scum in a National Trust tea room by a 50+ waitress. My sister just asked (politely like we always do) if she could have more milk but the woman refused even though she had let the people in front of my sister (who were retired by the way) have more milk. Reason? My sister was 19 and therefore on of the "evil ones who will mug us and have no respect." I get looked at like I'm not even dirt but a large number of old people and quite frankly I'm fed up with it. I really don't know why I bother anymore, I really don't. I'm not surprised the younger generation hold no respect for the older generation. We're told, by the government, that we're meant to be out drinking all the time and causing anti-social behaviour. As I'm from a single parent family I'm meant to have failed my GCSEs and be in jail before I'm 25 according to David Cameron.



Respect works both ways. If I'm being polite to someone I don't think it's unreasonably to expect a thank you, do you? Yet I hardly ever get it from old people, all I get is that well used look that I'm just dirt under their feet.
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#5 Old 07-27-2007, 12:04 PM
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...and be in jail before I'm 25 according to David Cameron.

Don't worry. Nobody takes him seriously.
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#6 Old 07-27-2007, 12:11 PM
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I think it depends on the individual, young or old. I love my family, but most of the older members are very set in their ways, and I feel that the prejudices they have gained through their lives taint their opinions. They have gained wisdom in their lives but I have to sort through their prejudices, cynicism, and cultural differences to find it.



OTOH, I probably put more stock in middle-aged opinions than I should. I grew up being way too trusting of authority and I still have a residual habit of treating people my parents' age like gods. I think they must know all and I, in my youth, know nothing. Seriously, I have a real problem thinking for myself. I'm getting better, though, and ever since I turned eighteen and entered the real adult world I've gotten better at judging whether people's opinions are worthwhile.



I always give people my age or younger my full attention and then I think over their ideas critically. I think that method should be used on everyone, however, a person's life experiences should be taken into account. I don't take points off if you're young or anything, but sometimes being older might give a person's opinion more weight. It doesn't mean they are right, but it's one more thing to consider.
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#7 Old 07-27-2007, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by skylark View Post

Do you dismiss people's ideas based on their age??



Absolutely not, whether younger or older than myself. I think it is wrong and ignorant to do so.



Quote:
Originally Posted by skylark View Post

Do you give more weight to the views of someone you perceive as an "elder"?



No. I have spent lots of time with people of many different ages and seen the good and bad of humanity and different levels of wisdom, maturity, ect. in individuals of all ages. I think the idea that a higher age automatically means wisdom, maturity, ect. and a lower age automatically means ignorance, immaturity, ect. is false, based on what I have seen from people. However, the idea that it does is widely accepted as fact, because it is a culturally ingrained idea, just like the idea that eating meat is OK.



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Originally Posted by skylark View Post

Does age nearly always equal more experience with a given topic, and therefore more authority?



It depends on the topic. For certain topics, it is going to, because a young person would not have had the experience yet with this topic. But, on many topics, I believe it doesn't.



Quote:
Originally Posted by skylark View Post

Conversely, I've noticed some people (generally people under 25) discounting the views of people in older generations because they don't think the older people understand their experiences.



I think it is very wrong to discount the views of older people, just like I do with younger people. I have had a very different experience with the elderly than Serenstar. All of the elderly people I know are very kind, polite, and sweet to me.



Quote:
Originally Posted by skylark View Post

I've heard people over, say, 60, complain children and young adults do not respect their elders the way previous groups of children and young adults did.



I notice many children and young adults disrespecting their elders, yes, but I see many of them disrespecting people their own age and younger than themselves 10 times more. The fact that only the disrespect towards their elders is being complained about and not the disrespect towards other young people is evidence that it is disrespect towards young people that is considered more acceptable.



Quote:
Originally Posted by skylark View Post

Is respect something we should give to all people regardless of age, and if so, is there a reason to respect all "elders" more than younger people before you get to know them and appreciate their views?



Yes, respect is something that should be given to all people regardless of age. IMHO, there is not a reason to respect all "elders" more than younger people before getting to know them and appreciate their views. There is a word for doing so - discrimination.
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#8 Old 07-27-2007, 01:27 PM
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I don't think 'respect' for any person you don't know is appropriate. However, considerate treatment is due to all ... some would call that 'treating someone with respect'.



For subjects based on opinion, age is irrelevant to me. For subjects that involve incorporation of life experience, older people are more likely (but not universally destined) to have greater perspective. Sometimes however, their experience is outdated ...... so there's no universal answer.



I suggest as we respond to this one we give our ages -- I suspect trends might develop. I know I value experience more than I used to (I'm 42 now) because I know I've learned a lot in the last 20 years or so, and learn more every day.
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#9 Old 07-27-2007, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Do you dismiss people's ideas based on their age?



no. while older people may (or may not) have relevant life experience and learning under their belts, i know from experience that some pretty small children can come out with some pretty impressive and relevent ideas, veiwpoints and opinions on a range of subjects. i also think that sometimes not having had years of experience or time to build up resentments, absorb and come to believe externally based veiwpoints/propeganda, or develop a bias, skewed outlook and/or prejudice can mean a younger persons standpoint is more authentically their own, and more... hmm... real... genuine... honest.... untainted?



Quote:
Do you give more weight to the views of someone you perceive as an "elder"?



i can't think of anyone that i perceive as an 'elder'. i know people who are 'older' (than me), and more experienced/knowledgeable in specific areas than me, but nobody who is universally profoundly wise like that. i've not really looked to anyone in that context since i was a small child. while i might ask certain people who i trust and feel close to for their veiws or opinions, i don't expect any universal wisdom from any one of them (regardlss of age or status), if i get something that makes sense and works for me, thats great!



Quote:
Does age nearly always equal more experience with a given topic, and therefore more authority?



not at all. learning and understanding combine to create knowledge in my books. i know some seven year olds who are way more knowledgable on an individual or whole range of topics than some 70 year olds, and vice versa. just because you've been around longer, doesn't necesarily mean you've actually caught onto what i feel to be even some pretty basic stuff- not just book learning stuff- common sense and interpersonal/emotional/behavioural stuff too.



Quote:
Conversely, I've noticed some people (generally people under 25) discounting the views of people in older generations because they don't think the older people understand their experiences.



i don't think many people my age understand (if you mean can empathise with, or relate to) my experiences either- they're not just related to age, but my personal perception of the world around me, my upbringing, lots of little pieces that build context, my personality and the personalities of those who i interact with- lots of things.



i don't neccesarily discount someones veiw/opinion due to their understanding or not of my experience, if i do discount it, its usually because it doesn't make sense (can be for lots of reasons), or because they're not being objective, logical, or rational (lots of people you ask for advice naturally tend to personalise their veiws and bring their own feelings and beliefs into it too much for me).



Quote:
I've heard people over, say, 60, complain children and young adults do not respect their elders the way previous groups of children and young adults did. Is respect something we should give to all people regardless of age, and if so, is there a reason to respect all "elders" more than younger people before you get to know them and appreciate their views?



i try (try being the operative word!) to treat people universally courtiously. respect to me is about looking up to someone, as well as treating them with dignity and courtesy. i treat people with respect whom i know and personally appreciate, and whom i have found to be worthy of it. i see no point in treating old people with more respect automatically- why should i? to be blunt, should i do so, just because they've managed to hang around the planet for a lot more time than me, and not be dead yet? because they might be wise, educated, experienced, warm, open, kind and jovial old folk? they might also be cantankerous, manipulative, un-educated, dull, rude, obnoxious old sods with limited life experience and little to no redeeming features. people tend to get the best degree of courtesy from me that i can muster, pretty universally. respect is another thing.
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#10 Old 07-27-2007, 03:52 PM
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Everything else being the same, the older person's opinion is worth more. However it is not at all unusual for everything else to not be the same. Many older people have less life experience than some younger people. Many older people are congenitally stupid. Some older people actually get stupider as they get older.
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#11 Old 07-27-2007, 04:18 PM
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In the case of political and ethical views, I don't think people's age should really give any "weight" to them. How much weight those views have should be based on the reasons presented. As to clear facts ("the first president of the US was.."), I guess you could trust someone less or more based on age. But I don't.



To me, a person's age is relevant mainly when people present some general value judgements or give advice about relationships, work or life in general. And in that case, I would tend to give more weight to the views of people from e.g. 20-40 years than to 60-year olds or 15-year olds. That's because when people are too young, they don't have enough experience, and when they're too old, they tend to have overly conservative, simplistic views that I've developed some distrust for.



The most weight, however, I give to the views of corpses. Whenever I am at a loss of what to do and need someone with a lot of experience to offer me a good perspective, I sneak into the graveyard with a shovel.

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#12 Old 07-27-2007, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Lentil Burger View Post

It's situational. A younger person may lack the life-experience to comment with authority on a particular subject, but then they may also bring a fresh and unique perspective to a discussion irrelevant of their age.



It can do. But then well-informed people can still hold idiotic opinions.



Respect should be earned - not owed. If an older person demonstrates the wisdom that one might expect from someone of their years, then they're deserving of respect. But equally if a younger person demonstrates a wisdom that belies their you, they too are deserving of respect.



I agree totally with Lentil Burger.

Sometimes I'm astounded at the maturity shown by young people on forums such as this and sometimes I'm saddened by the idiocy of some young people who post here.

My son and I work well together. He has a sharper mind and up to date knowledge whereas I have a lot of practical experience under my belt.

From walking through my local shopping centre around school chucking out time, I'd say that younger people can be noisy and a bit inconsiderate but it doesn't bother me as I was probably the same.

It's a bit unreliable, statistically, to say that older people are ruder, based on one or two incidents. I'd say that there are polite, considerate people of all ages, just as there are people who behave inconsiderately.



Of course there are no 'rude' or 'polite' people, only people who sometimes behave rudely or politely and that, I think, includes pretty much all of us.
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#13 Old 07-28-2007, 02:36 AM
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Ageism sucks just as much as sexism.



Wisdom does not necessarily come with age. In fact, it can even diminish if the person gets stuck in a rut.
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#14 Old 07-28-2007, 09:37 AM
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Do you dismiss people's ideas based on their age? Do you give more weight to the views of someone you perceive as an "elder"?



no. typically, i look to the argument itself. if i find there's something valuable (to me) in it, i'll take that under consideration. sometimes, if i don't necessarily "get" the person's perspective, i might look to how old they are to understand better where they are coming from. it can provide insight into the ability to communicate the idea, or why/how they may hold that idea now, and so on.



i look back at some of my old posts online (some are over 10 years old), and i really see my 'youth' in them. i see the good of the arguments too, but i also see how my age--experience and maturity--impacted the way i presented the info (and why it may have been rejected for that), and also impacted the way i saw and understood certain material and made particular inferences.



so, i don't dismiss an argument or accept an argument out of hand based on age, but sometimes age can help me 'weigh' different factors or elements of the person's opinion to discern where they're coming from and perhaps understand better what they mean--which can impact whether or not i can accept, at least marginally, an opinion that i find "suspect" (whether it's one of my old posts, a younger person's post, an older persons post, etc).



Does age nearly always equal more experience with a given topic, and therefore more authority?



age equals more experience, but not necessarily on the given topic in question. i know many people who are over my age who do not have children and therefore have no more experience in child rearing than i do. but i know women and men who are younger than me and older than me who do have children and can bring that experience to bear on my considerations and opinions.



so, it really is topic specific.



i should also point out that age doesn't necessarily equal maturity. I know some very, very insecure and immature people who are older than me. it's always shocking. i generally take the opinion that people are as mature as their age would seem to allow--but i'm often shocked to find that people of any age can be very mature and wise or very immature and foolish.



so, i personally have to be mindful to not assume that because someone is older, they are more mature or right. i had a painful experience to this point this past spring while in NZ (their fall) where i worked with a very insecure 42 yr old woman who kept asserting that she was more mature, more knowledgeable and what not than i was, that i 'should' rely on her maturity and experience. . .blah blah blah.



and i discovered--after talking with people whom i trusted--that her behavior was very immature, insecure, and needy, and that i didn't need to listen to her. they were also honest enough to point out to me my own immaturities and insecurities, which i also found helpful--and it allowed me to mature. These 'advisors' were both older and younger than me.



Is respect something we should give to all people regardless of age, and if so, is there a reason to respect all "elders" more than younger people before you get to know them and appreciate their views?



i believe that every deserves basic respect--as in to be treated with dignity as autonomous human beings. but that doesn't mean that i have to agree with, like, or follow their opinions.



a lot of people use "respect" to me "follow my orders" rather than simply "accept that this is my opinion, whether or not you agree with it or follow it." so when people say "respect your elders" they often mean it in the first sense ("follow their orders/wishes") and not in the second which is to take their experience and information under advisement.



I do believe that the elder generation doesn't necessarily understand the unique situation of the younger generation and vice versa. I think, therefore, that we should truly respect each other (in the accepting differences and sharing experiences sense) and communicate and learn from each other.



and in this, we all become more wise.
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#15 Old 07-28-2007, 09:16 PM
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Unfortunately the only requirement to growing older is that you continue to live, and these days that isn't necessarily saying much for your abilities or knowledge. I think the whole idea of assuming that older people know more about any given thing is based on times when it was harder to survive and therefore knowing more would be a way of living longer (specifically, past the time when you could rely on strength.)



This would still hold true in some places I suppose, but around here I don't really pay any attention to how old someone is (although sometimes there is a direct relation to how much experience they have in a certain subject, usually work.)
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#16 Old 07-28-2007, 10:35 PM
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I was in the apartment gym today, watching the Indianapolis Tennis Championships. I was on the treadmill...running...



This old couple came in and changed the channel and the old woman walked on another treadmill.



I had no respect. They could have at least asked.
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#17 Old 07-28-2007, 10:48 PM
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Older people's views generally count more to politicians, for the simple reason that older people tend to vote in high percentages, while younger people do not.



I am a bit skeptical of younger people's opinions because such people are often ill-read, know little about recent history, and often have a "smart aleck" attitude to make up for their lack of knowledge and thoughtfulness. I wish this were not so, but it often is.



On the other hand, just because a person is older does not mean that he is well-read or thoughtful or intelligent.
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#18 Old 07-29-2007, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skylark View Post

Do you dismiss people's ideas based on their age? Do you give more weight to the views of someone you perceive as an "elder"?



Does age nearly always equal more experience with a given topic, and therefore more authority?



I don't dismiss anyones ideas based on their age. I try to reserve judgment until people share their thoughts before I 'give more weight' or dismiss their ideas.



In some cases age can equal to more experience (as has been pointed out), but not necessarily. So I'd try to give more weight to people who have had the experience I'm interested about rather than assume since their older they're generally just more knowledgeable. Although I do tend to ignore or dismiss people who flaunt their age as some kind of badge or ticket to knowledge.



Quote:
Originally Posted by skylark View Post


Conversely, I've noticed some people (generally people under 25) discounting the views of people in older generations because they don't think the older people understand their experiences. I've heard people over, say, 60, complain children and young adults do not respect their elders the way previous groups of children and young adults did.



I think this has been written about since people could write. It's probably been complained about for longer than that (perhaps as long as people could speak?)



Quote:
Originally Posted by skylark View Post


Is respect something we should give to all people regardless of age, and if so, is there a reason to respect all "elders" more than younger people before you get to know them and appreciate their views?



As others have stated, I think respect is earned.

I believe everything.
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#19 Old 07-29-2007, 03:01 PM
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Hey, Skylark - Did you make this thread in response to abroadinSacto's comments to you in the "Unusual Names" thread?
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#20 Old 07-29-2007, 04:21 PM
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I value people's opinions based on the level of dumbass-ness.
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#21 Old 07-29-2007, 04:23 PM
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I know people of all ages whose opinions I value, and vice versa.
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#22 Old 07-30-2007, 05:06 AM
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Maybe it's simplest to say that increasing years give a person a greater opportunity to develop wisdom. Whether they take that opportunity is a different matter. Something else to remember is that the wisest people aren't always the people who share our opinions
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#23 Old 07-30-2007, 12:03 PM
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i respect people when they earn it.

i hang out with such a missmash of age groups that "weight" coming with "age" has nothing to do with anything. one of my friends seems younger now than she ever was, and she's 24. i consider my little sister (14) to be very wise, but maybe because she's seen all that i have, but with just younger and slightly less tainted eyes. my older sister is 30 and a complete bumbling idiot and no one in the family talks to her anymore. i wouldn't give her life advice to my worst enemies. I get on extremly well with Brandon here, and he's 19 years older than I am, and I can tell he respects my opinions and vice versa. I don't give "respect" to elders just because they are old, that says nothing about anything. just because you lived to be 70 doesn't mean i owe you anything. for all i know, you made it to 70 never leaving the house and being fed by your mother until she died.

cry havoc! and let slip the dogs of war.
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#24 Old 07-30-2007, 01:05 PM
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This kind of reminds me of the argument that has come up before about whether people who don't have children have valid input to contribute regarding childrearing techniques. Often people assume that people who have experience raising children will have more wisdom about how to raise them, and that people who have not raised children have little to bring to the discussion. But of course we know that many people who have raised or are raising children are complete idiots despite their experience and that their childrearing methods could be inane and destructive. On the other hand, through observation and experiences from their own childhoods, many non-parents could have wonderful insights into how to raise a child well. Of course it's not quite the same as having children of their own, but that doesn't mean that they have nothing of worth to bring to the discussion.



So as Soilman said, all things being equal (intelligence, compassion, etc.), I might value the opinion of the elder over the youngster simply because they have more life experience to draw from, but things are rarely equal. Some old people are stupid or ignorant or mean, and some young people are very observant and insightful.



The only way to go in my mind is to respect everyone and let them have their say, and if what they say turns out to be inane, ignore it.
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#25 Old 07-30-2007, 01:16 PM
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Hey, Skylark - Did you make this thread in response to abroadinSacto's comments to you in the "Unusual Names" thread?



I started thinking about it then, yes, but it is not a "response."

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#26 Old 08-03-2007, 10:32 AM
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I wouldn't say age is a factor, I think open-mindedness and education is. I've found that people in my generation tend to take in more information and aren't "set in their ways" like most older people are. I mean, many of our elders still call black people "colored." As a 21 year old, I know it's important to hear the views of everyone, research something, and then make my own educated opinion. My Mom actually gets angry at me because she thinks that her age makes her aware and knowledgable of everything. She's even told me that I'm too young to be giving her advice on things like health (even though I'm practically an expert and she has a VERY poor diet). I think younger people tend to be more educated on nutrition (18 years and older). My great-grandma used to cook with lard and deep fried everything. Her generation didn't know until about the 1960's on how bad things like that were for your body. Ditto smoking. She lived to be 104. My grandparents now say "Look at her lifestyle and how old she lived to be." I have to explain that it doesn't mean she was healthy or that she's like the normal person.



I know experience is important, but since times change, the experience from the 1970's aren't the same as they are now. When my Mom gets mad at me, she tells me to move out and explains that when she was 19, she was married and had a house. Everytime, I have to remind her that in 70's were different. Houses are $500,000 now, not the $25,000 she paid. Plus, a college education is important. My Mom in her heart still believe that college is a waste of time and money if you don't know EXACTLY what you want to do. She also has said to me that she thinks of college educated people as stuck up.



When it comes to health and education, I wouldn't talk to my Mom. When it comes to raising children, she'd be the first person I'd go to. So I guess each generation has their specialty.



And when it comes to old people say we don't give them respect, they must understand that respect is earned, not a right. I respect my grandparents so much because they give it back.
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#27 Old 08-03-2007, 02:47 PM
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I find that the wisest people in the world are usually my own age. Often living in my neighborhood. In my house. Wearing my clothes. Imagine that......









Yes, I'm a wee tad narcissistic.
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#28 Old 08-03-2007, 04:45 PM
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I've found that people in my generation tend to take in more information and aren't "set in their ways" like most older people are.

. Not all older people are set in their ways. For example this kind of "setting" causes som older people to be reticient to learn how to use computers. But others like myself (I'm almost 60) are more computer literate than most people who are 35 or younger.



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I mean, many of our elders still call black people "colored."

The correct terminology is African-American or highly pigmented. And has been for at least 300 years now. Unless an individual specifically asks to be called something else, in which case I call people what they say they want to be called.





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When it comes to health and education, I wouldn't talk to my Mom. When it comes to raising children, she'd be the first person I'd go to. So I guess each generation has their specialty.

This has nothing to do with her age. It has to do with her as an individual.
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#29 Old 08-03-2007, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by danakscully64 View Post

I mean, many of our elders still call black people "colored."



I still say I feel gay, when I'm happy.
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#30 Old 08-03-2007, 08:44 PM
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danaskully . Not all older people are set in their ways. For example this kind of "setting" causes som older people to be reticient to learn how to use computers. But others like myself (I'm almost 60) are more computer literate than most people who are 35 or younger.



Wasn't saying all older people are, but many. So many won't change their habits or thinking because it's what they've done or believe for more than 40 years. You're different for many reasons... You're an open-minded person, you think for yourself... plus, you're not even old.



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The correct terminology is African-American or highly pigmented. And has been for at least 300 years now. Unless an individual specifically asks to be called something else, in which case I call people what they say they want to be called.



That term African-American doesn't make sense. When was the last time you heard someone use that term and follow it with "I'm white." The equivalent would be "You're African-American and I'm Irish-American." For the most part, people here were not born in Africa and later became Americans. That's what the term implies. *shakes head* My best friend thinks the term African-American is dumb (she's black) because she's not from Africa. When people say that I'm white, I correct them, I'm "clear."



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This has nothing to do with her age. It has to do with her as an individual.



"I wouldn't say age is a factor, I think open-mindedness and education is." Age doesn't matter, it's experience and knowledge.
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