The importance of honoring the elders

Wu Siu Yan
16 Dec 2002

Chrysler was in bad shape in the 70s, losing millions per day for several years. Chrysler hired Lee Iacocca to be CEO to turn the company around. Lee had worked for FORD for 32 years, and had been President of FORD for eight years.

After some years of intense effort, Lee finally succeeded in turning Chrysler around, making it profitable again.

How was he able to do that ? Apart from his experience and ability, he relied on retired executives of FORD who had been his friends. They all came out of retirement to help him turn Chrysler around.

Lee Iacocca has written books,

(1) Lee Iacocca, an autobiography
(2) Talking Straight

The elderly have accumulated much experiences and wisdom, and even after retirement (in USA, executives usually retire at 65), many are still in good health and as capable as when young. In Japan, many top executives are old men in their 80s!

LORD : You shall rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God. [Lev. 19:32]

LORD's ordinance pertaining to the church workers (who are called Levites) :

This is what pertains to the Levites : from twenty-five years old and upward they shall go in to perform the work in the service of the tent of meeting; and from the age of fifty years they shall withdraw from the work of the service and serve no more, but minister to their brethren in the tent of meeting, to keep the charge, and they shall do no service. Thus shall you do to the Levites in assigning their duties. [Num 8:24-26]

Note :

Thus the working period is from 25 to 50. But after retirement, the elderly workers still minister to the younger workers, and keep the charge of LORD, preventing the younger workers to go astray.

When a society does not honor the elderly, the young will not learn from the aged. They may even despise the aged.

And what happens then? They will have to learn everything the aged had learned before (perhaps) at the cost of much bitter experience.

Therefore in such a society, the youth face every danger afresh. And dangers and snares and troubles are not lacking for the inexperienced, who often make mistakes to their own hurt and sorrow, and that may be long-lasting.

Lee Iacocca talked about the suicides in USA,

Iacocca : When Kelly visited me, she rattled off some statistics that really blew my mind. Every day, as many as 1000 children attempt suicide. Every year, 6500 to 10000 of them succeed. Since the 1950s, the teenage suicide rate in America has tripled.

(Note : the youth may invite troubles for himself/herself because of inexperience, but the main cause for their deaths is the dirty work of Secret Alliance, which apply so much pressure to them that they want not to live anymore.)

The same is true in Hong Kong -- suicides among the young has increased a lot in recent years.

Lee Iacocca said that the elderly can help the young from self-destruction,

Iacocca : The Oriental mind says, the longer you live, the smarter you get. There's not just respect, there's reverence. Many of the people who run Japan are in their eighties. They've lived long enough and gotten wise enough at least to protect their young people from self-destruction. Nothing is new to them; they've seen it come and go.

For a society that honors the elderly, the elders pass their experiences and wisdom to the young, who in turn add wisdom and experiences of their own, and pass it to their children. Therefore, there is an accumulation of experiences and wisdom over the years.

But for a society that honors not the elderly, each generation will start afresh, and experiences and wisdom will not accumulate. Youths in such society will generally have a hard time. Not only so, their troubles will affect the people around them.

If you look around the world, those societies where elders are honored are usually more stable, with much less youth problems, e.g. the Native Americans, the Maoris, the Australian aborigines, ...

Honor the elderly, as LORD taught you, and learn from them.

Moreover, learn from the Almighty GOD, who is more than 100 wise men combined. Learn and walk His Laws/Commandments resolutely, and hold them fast, turning from them neither to the right nor to the left, and you will prosper, and avoid many snares and pitfalls that await those youths who think the elderly (as well as LORD) have nothing to offer.


Because of the attitude of the society nowadays, which would not honor the elderly, many elders have very little to offer. They have only their own experience, and if they do not learn in their life-time, they have very little to teach to the young.

Elders, have a humble spirit as Jesus taught you : "Blessed are the poor in spirit, ... " [Mt 5:3], learn and learn and learn until the day you no longer are in this world, then you will have something to pass to your children.

(*) Law of GOD and His Commandments
(*) Jesus' Sermon on the Mount
(*) Other Teachings of Jesus
(*) Hymn loved by Chinese
(*) Online Bible
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