I grew up in a Filipino household where “respect for our elders” was ingrained. I didn’t realize that this was unique and part of the air we breathed until others would comment on it. It’s common among Filipinos to address elders with a title, whether that be “Sir” or “Manang” (“older female” in Tagalog). And Filipinos are often found in service industries, such as healthcare and hospitality.
Because there is some danger in blanket respect for anyone in power I’ve processed through this over my adult years. Therefore, I now know that genuine due respect communicates deeply to the elder and also to the community.
Blue Zones: Inter-generations
We at illumine are fascinated by the Blue Zones, global areas with a greater concentration of people who live into old age. After attending AFEST I extended my stay to do some ethnographic research in the Blue Zone of Sardinia, Italy.
Interestly, one of the things I distinctly remember noticing were grandparents holding hands with teenage grandkids. I also noted local elderly couples holding hands while walking around the city. And multi-generations of families regularly gathered in small Sardinian city centers.
One of the characteristics of Blue Zones is engagement with grandparents and aging parents. This includes living near-by or in the same home.
I love this Macklemore video. It reminds us that anytime is a great time to show a grandparent or any other elder some love. Watch and get inspired. Maybe even do a little dance!
For more inspiration on Blue Zone living and living a long life: check out this video by Jason Prall the founder of the Human Longevity Project.
Learn more about characteristics in Blue Zones. Consider how small life changes and a new approach to living can make a difference not only in the number of years you live, but the quality of life you are living.
We came across this site, Death over Dinner, which is a planning tool for gathering to discuss a traditionally taboo topic. This can be with friends and family, or perhaps your spiritual community. The planning tools help to shift the conversation towards how we want to die, but more importantly allowing profound consideration on how we want to live.
From Abraham Lincoln: And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.
March 3, 2019Marta Granat (Viva Prana)
I absolutely love this piece! I was raised by a village with my grandparents on both sides at the helm. My two boys and I now have the luxury of taking the month of July in MA where we get to live with my grandmother Hazel (to them GiGi for “great grandmother”), a spunky 87 year old docent and community staple. I feel so blessed that my boys get to know and love her as I do, especially given the differences in life perspective of someone born in 1929 vs 2007 or 2011. At the end of every July when we pull away to head back to the midwest we all cry because we hate saying goodbye to Hazel. She has become such an integral part of all of our lives and I know we add to hers as well as she shares her delight throughout the year when we share photos and sports videos of the boys. She corresponds via email, text, and she sends the boys postcards with fun facts and a note catered to each of their interests during the months that we are apart. Thank you for giving me moment to pause and reflect on how lucky we are to have a relationship with my grandmother Hazel!
March 5, 2019Lourdes Paredes Campbell
Thanks Marta, for sharing this heart warming story. How lucky your boys have a GREAT Grandparent(love GiGi!), and Yes, so important to connect with kinds with them. A treat for grand and great grandparents to know and spend time with these younger ones, and so important for kids to know them and be around the wise ones. What an illumined family!