The place of respect that elders enjoy in tribal groups
represents a sharp contrast to how older adults in our society are seen.
The elders earn and accept the respect they’re given.
It’s not just that they’re acknowledged by their people –
they claim themselves as vital resources for their communities.
~ R. Leider & D. Shapiro
Walk Young, Stand Creative
When my parents were in their 70s, Mom started telling my Dad to walk young, to stop walking old. She demonstrated what she meant by lifting her feet rather than shuffling and looking ahead, not at her feet. Ever sensitive to how others treated her, Mom had noticed that cues to old age would elicit dismissive or patronizing behaviours.
Psychological research on mind-body connections has indeed shown:
a] a shuffling, downward looking gait is more characteristic of older adults;
b] its occurrence elicits negative stereotypes; and
c] its likelihood increases unconsciously among older adults when negative stereotypes such as forgetful and diminishing are primed.
To read more, see
The recent blog article by Amy Cuddy, Assume the Posture of Presence, highlights recent research showing that the way we stand and sit affects our self-esteem, persistence, creativity, and ability to engage in complex, abstract thinking.
Has anyone ever reminded you to sit up straight, to stand tall? What were their motives? Did their admonitions work? Are you aware of others’ posture? What feelings do certain postures in loved ones elicit?
Aging in Community
Older adults can help each other stand tall, walk young. They can also encourage younger people to do the same, especially those who have been made to feel different (due to race, religion, social class, newcomer status, disability).
Ellen’s New Poetry & Photography
Let us knit for all the dreams
once whispered until dusk
Let us wait no longer for shoulds
to wrap around our shoulders.
Let us pilgrim our way
flashlight showing only the next row
pattern known by looking back
footprints behind us in snow.
Can we share the knitting?
make shawls from our dreambits
cloak the ailing with interlooped yarn
scarlet, lemon, azure
laced with sparkles in the eye?
Can we braid others into our wreath
fellow pilgrims knit together?
The 2009 photograph of my granddaughter reading in the garden is included in a new Spirituality Practice photo gallery:
With this photo,
I bid you adieu until next time,