By: Natasha Archary
Respect your elders. This is probably the first lesson most children are taught from a young age. But, isn’t respect a two way street?
On Kaya Drive this Wednesday, Sizwe Dhlomo and team wanted to know if there was a right and wrong way to school someone older than you.
In African culture values are based on a foundation of the past and present, which is why elders are highly respected. It may be highly offensive to square off with an elder for the sake of making a point.
Many listeners agreed with Keneiloe Huma’s stance that silence is golden when it comes to addressing things with an elder.
Silence is an African value, when there’s something to be said, it will be said. However, in an office or public environment if someone is being personally dismissive or disrespectful do you turn the other cheek?
Reputation matters and publicly confronting someone older is taboo. Confrontation is not the same as criticizing. Cultural beliefs aside, religious beliefs may be another reason many listeners avoid conflict at all costs.
Confronting someone older than you may reveal a blind spot in their life which could actually help bring about a positive change in their life.
Right and wrong ways to school someone older than you
It’s such a sensitive subject because any disrespect is viewed as a mark of a person’s upbringing.
Culturally, even pointing a finger whilst speaking to someone is considered rude and offensive. Interrupting an elder is also frowned upon. Over zealous hand gestures to motion to an elder is a sign of disrespect too.
Avoid sweeping judgements and statements from a personal point of view.
Healthy confrontation can be a learning experience for you and the elder. Be humble as you speak, and be open to changes that you might need to consider too. Sometimes disagreements can’t be resolved. It’s not a matter of right and wrong but simply differences of opinion, and you have to agree to disagree.