Reverend Ian Claridge: Cherish the elderly

An Anglican Cleric is calling on Barbadians not to discard our seniors and to develop a greater appreciation for the elderly in our communities.
Delivering the sermon yesterday morning at the St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church where staff and well-wishers gathered to commemorate the 38th Anniversary of the National Assistance Board and to mark the start of Senior Citizens’ Month, Reverend Ian Claridge chided those who he said have a negative attitude towards the elderly, both in society and in the Church, and called on them to change their attitude.

“This is not so only in society, but also in the Church we want the elderly to move out the way, step aside, let the younger brighter face take over, even though they may not have been prepared or ready for the task that is at hand,” he said.

He made the point while lamenting that too often there is a stereotype of older persons as being anti-youth and there is a belief that the seniors should move aside and let the younger people step in. However, the reverend is adamant that nothing could be further from the truth, contending that the senior members of our society are a repository of knowledge and wisdom that should be drawn on to help keep the society in good shape.

“In society and the Church we need to change our thinking about our seniors, we must move away from looking at them as a liability and see them as an asset, as a resource to who we can go to for guidance, for assistance and for direction. Being able to achieve great age, means that you have the experience and knowledge. Yes, sometimes the knowledge of making a mistake… means you have learnt from that mistake and have trusted God to give you proper direction,” Claridge added.

The priest explained that he is not suggesting that as a society we hold on to traditions and not adapt to change, but he said there is a need to exam why things have been done in the way they have, and see if change is really needed. His comments came as he reminded those in the congregation that should it be God’s will, they too will get old, and so he urged them not to discriminate against our seniors.

“Age is authentic, age is genuine, age is valuable and yes, as we all approach it I pray that we recognise, more and more, that age is even beautiful. Yes, the older generation would have had a hard time and still have a hard time keeping up with the younger generation, but let us remember that as long as we are still breathing there is hope, as long as we are still here
there is a reason for existing,” he maintained.

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