Let’s Talk About Older Adults 60 + Article #2 of 2: Greek View vs Biblical View

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By Rev Wambûi Njoroge, M.Sci.

What is it then that makes media so hyper about OAs who are 60 +? Is this not the largest voting age group in the USA. Politics aside – I believe there are two opposing perspectives shaping our aging in the West. The 2 are irreconcilable as long as it is someone younger than 60 years who is doing the analysis. They are an Ancient Greek Perspective vs a Judeo Christian or Biblical Perspective.

1. The Greek Perspective: It is my opinion that media today views old age from an Ancient Greek perspective. When given the wheels of social media, it can create fearful ripple effects. Is it helping at then to tell OAs who have no underlying health conditions, and those who have manageable health co ditions to barricade themselves in their homes?  Is this not the largest voting age group? And why is it happening during the primaries season and a few months to USA Presidential primary elections? Anyway, politics and conspiracy theories aside. The Greeks view of OA is that they abhorred aging because it represented a decline from youthfulness and strength, while youth represented beauty and strength. One account I read while researching on the topic for my class in Aging and Dying indicated that; in Ancient Greek, being old was as bad as being dead; and being young was viewed as beautiful as a Goddess. The Greek Goddess is depicted to have not only beauty but also power and strength. The only people who were exempted from the “good as dead”  negative view were the elite of that day – the warriors, the philosophers and the statesmen. Is it any different today? How are we treating OAs? Perhaps we should have a healthy respect of 0As.  How we treat PAd is one measure of How well a society is doing. One Gospel Hymn line reads, “Fairest flowers soon decay, Youth and beauty pass away…” 

2. The Biblical Perspective: Read any account of OA in the Bible.  You will find out positive descriptions of strength in character and wisdom. Their (OAs) gray hair is even referred to as “The splendor of old men is their gray hair” (Proverbs 20:29). The most popular scripture is the one that refers to gray hair as a “crown of glory” Proverbs 16:31. Our prayers too seem to glorify the men of Old, the Patriarchs. We like to pray to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This shows how our faith has a strong generational connectedness. We talk with pride about how our forefathers did this and that…Let us remember that many people climbed on the shoulders of OAs so that they can be where they are today. With this understanding, it might be possible to maintain some good things from the African culture. Prior to immigrating to the West. we viewed Our OAs as having knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Most of us had  a healthy reverence for OAs. I wonder – Will our Biblical perspective survive COVID-19?  

My friends if aging is a process, then it has a beginning, which is at birth. It then follows that the process is completed in Old Age, at the point where we will have reached 70 + years to 100. When the Lord calls us to our heavenly home, then it can be said of us for the purposes of this world that we have completed our being physically, biologically and spiritually.

Personally I like the Biblical perspective as highlighted in scripture: “He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youth shall faint and be weary; And the young men shall utterly fall; But those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31). Teach me LORD to wait.

What Next? I pray that this season passes away sooner…Die and dry up.

 To the Young I say, you are walking in the footsteps of an OA  (hau agereire noho onawe ugereire. Tondu ûkinyite ikinya ûmumite thutha)/Email-revwambuifavored@gmail.com.

Rev. Wambui Njoroge

Senior Columnist

KENYAN PARENTS IN USA

BOARD MEMBER CODU

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