Aging, one a matter of respect and dignity in the Western World, has now become, for many, a burden. Often individuals have not personally prepared for the latter years of life; thus a financial burden looms heavily. The first step in looking at aging is to see it in the positive light God intended - and not regard it as a necessary evil.
From ancient times God instructed people to honor the older generation. That instruction is recorded in the Scriptures. Through Moses, God said, "You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God" (Lev.19:32). Later Solomon wrote, "The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness" (Prov. 16:31). Somewhere along the way, especially in this century, we in Western society seem to have lost our perspective on aging.
The Word of God says to respect and honor the older generation. Today, we seem to have an aversion to growing old. Even worse, we often look on the elderly as a burden rather than an asset. What a shame! The apostle Paul showed the value of respecting older men and women in the letter he wrote to the young evangelist Titus. Older men, he said, should be examples: "sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience" (Titus 2:2).
The passing years develop these admirable qualities in an older man. If young men only realized what they could learn from the older generation, how much better life would be. Our mobile society has led to many young adults being hundreds or thousands of miles away from parents. Contact is by letter and phone. There may be annual visits home for only a few days. Families drift apart. Facing the care of elderly parents leaves us in a quandary.
But there is a way. It's time to reverse the trend of broken families and careless attitudes and plan for the years ahead. How do we solve the problem? The answers to the problems are largely the responsibility of the family. National governments and local communities can, of course, have programs for those in need. But if families assume the first responsibility, the government's burden by way of taxes will be much lighter.