So picture this, you are in a kombi and you see an elderly woman walk up to you and she asks for your seat. What do you do, do you refuse with your seat and insist that you paid for it, or do you unwillingly give your seat to that senior citizen?
Well did you care to imagine that back in the day such a scenario would seldom happen? This is because the moment grey haired citizens boarded any bus, Kombi the young and the energetic would automatically offer to give their seat to the elderly. There was no negotiation that would happen and it was not necessary for the elderly to plead for seats with teenagers as it is the norm to respect elders in our culture and as such they ought to be treated courteously. Offering them a seat was just one of the ways to bequeath them their due respect.
Somehow some of us have allowed our societal values to be eroded and they have lost all the principles and values that we held dear as a people. Some young people do not bother to know that they are in the presence of elderly people and that they should treat them with respect and honour.
Just take a moment to think of the number of times you have been in a kombi and were embarrassed to look at your mother because apparently obscene and explicit music was playing much to the disgust of the elderly in the kombi? What even escalates this shame is the refusal to stop the music and the protesting by the conductors and drivers when these grey haired citizens complain.
Tadiwanashe Chigowe a student at Hillbright College expressed his disapproval of this wayward behaviour. “I mean, we all know that is the music we listen to but some songs are inappropriate to play when our parents are there. They should just learn to censor their playlists,” Tadiwanashe said.
While some people might believe that being disrespectful and rebellious is an expression of swag I believe otherwise. I believe that respect is an expression of swag.
Most of the well-mannered and respectful teens are the ones who go on to build success stories in life. They are able to excel in their life because they are willing to learn from those who have acquired wisdom and experience.
You can never know a road unless you have travelled it or unless you are told of it by the ones who have travelled it before. The one who has walked the road before will tell you what to avoid and what to expect along the path such that you travel that path faster than them when they first walked the road. The same happens with life, our elders can give us an insight of what life is about. They will tell us of roads to avoid and rivers that are crocodile infested and our journey will be better than theirs if we heed to their advice. Nothing can beat experience.
Respect also earns you favour. Someone higher in authority will never be impressed by rebelliousness; rather they are impressed by humility and a willingness to learn. A successful and noble elderly citizen will only be delighted to mentor and promote a humble person who also has respect for authority. Do not be an ‘I know it all’ person in front of elderly people. Submit yourself under them and learn as much as you can and when you have learnt enough your promotion is surely around the corner. Lack of respect repels opportunities from you as no one wants to elevate or promote a person without respect.
Mrs Yeukai Kaitano of Tynwald North who works at a certain leading financial institution described why she would want to work with young people who have respect. “Obviously anyone would want to work with a person with respect because as youth it is a reflection of who you are and how you have been raised. It also gives an insight of what your tomorrow holds,” advised Mrs Kaitano.
When you can respect others you also have respect for self. Self-respect means that you do not do anything that will damage or do harm to you. You will never abuse drugs that ruin your life and the chances of you succeeding when you live a clean life are higher than the ones who use drugs. When you respect yourself you do not endanger your life.
So next time you are standing in a queue and you see a senior citizen standing at the back of the queue or behind you, nicely walk up to them and ask them to step up to the front of the queue.
By Glen Dhliwayo