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“Might we not say that filial piety and respect for elders constitute the root of Goodness.”
The alienation between young and old is at times palpable. It’s not usually open disdain or hostility. Rather there is a real disconnect, as each group is at a loss about how to relate to the other.
Viewpoint - Adults - Point - People - Habits
One naturally wonders what might be done. From a purely practical viewpoint, it seems that whatever is to be done will have to start with adults. But I for one have often been discouraged on this point, thinking: what can I do about how most young people have no habits, or even have bad habits, of interacting with elders?
Well, we must start somewhere. And neither Confucius nor anyone I know in the Western tradition seems to think that respect for elders magically appears in youth. There is something natural about filial piety and respect for elders, but what is natural still often requires cultivation—especially by those who know and exemplify what they are cultivating.
Root - Importance - Piety - Respect - Elders
It seems that one root of the importance of piety and respect for elders is that we are all on the same project, striving for the same great goal, and elders are further along in it.
Now if the answer is not that elders simply insist upon receiving respect, they still might act in certain ways so as better to encourage and elicit it. Perhaps adults/elders might do the following toward youth:
Act - Work
1. Act as though we are in this together. We are hard at work in achieving what we are all called to be. We are not...
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