May the young be mindful ever of the old
Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old.
–– Proverbs 23:22.
We can say with confidence that the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) has been making itself a practising example of the advice given by the legendary sage Solomon in extending a helping and comforting hand to the Geriatric Hospital’s elderly, while contributing to the institution’s fresh food supply.
The exemplification would come through the BDF’s youth summer programme Camp Energy in which 51 campers planted a kitchen garden at the Beckles Road, St Michael hospital’s day care centre, complemented with a bench for relaxing and musing on.
In a way, the Samaritan act of the Defence Force cum participation of the very young campers will have set a sample of elderly care and love for the wider society to follow.
It is not unnoticed that in many cases the old are neglected –– and forgotten, especially when they must be wards of an institution. And so, inspired by the BDF’s summer programme, from our busy schedule we, as a society, duly need
to take some time to express our appreciation and affection for those who –– often through much sacrifice –– have got many of us where we are today.
Impressively, BDF chief of staff Colonel Alvin Quintyne offered to continue the partnership with the Geriatric Hospital, not only as it related to the garden and its upkeep, but also in the maintenance of contact between the young boys and girls and the elderly who would have struck up a summer relationship.
The senior citizens at the hospital and day care centre could expect in addition to their fill of eggplant, tomatoes, sweet peppers and cucumbers, the continued warmth and endearment of the young campers. They would not have to wait necessarily for the other summer camp next year.
“Feel free to give us a buzz if there is any assistance that we may be able to provide for the staff and patients who are here,” Colonel Quintyne told the elderly and their caregivers at the hospital last Tuesday evening, as the young campers came to review the vegetable garden.
The colonel hopes the project will have a lasting positive impression on the young minds whose three-week camp ends tomorrow Friday.
It is highly commendable that the Barbados Defence Force, with the attributed traditional perception of being strict and militaristic, would demonstrate to all and sundry a kindness of heart and considerateness for others, in particular our aged. Admittedly, the BDF is joining a pantheon of business and other social groups that cater to the happiness of the old –– at Christmas time and otherwise –– but a number we aver can hardly ever be too many. And so, the BDF’s most recent example of reaching out, we trust, will trigger even more positive response
to the elderly in our communities from now onwards.
As we have said before, growing old today is an accomplishment pursued, for it speaks generally to continued good health, self-satisfaction with mental and physical alertness and companionship with friends and family. Companionship, we stress, because loneliness and abandonment can negate good health and self-sustenance.
Growing old can indeed be a treat –– especially if we can rid the land of the exploiters, thieves, robbers and gunmen who would prey on our unsuspecting and trusting senior citizens. Publicly caring for and organizing social activities for our senior citizens will certainly go far in keeping the, malefactors and villains away.
Of course, no such criminality would beset our elderly in the first place if we were all of one mind in respecting, honouring and revering our old.
Honouring the old man and old woman is more than a practice of good manners or adherence to good etiquette; and more than our acknowledgement of gratitude for their good to us. Honouring our elders is a statute of God Almighty.
You shall rise before the grey headed and honour the presence of an old man
[and old woman], and fear your God: I am the Lord.
–– Leviticus 19:32.
This reverence can only translate into a better quality of life for our older folks and a deeper understanding of what the remit of the younger in society is.
May we never forget the contributions and sacrifices made of our senior citizens in their youthful days; may we never cease to recognize their efforts publicly; and may we forever be grateful.
We again commend the Barbados Defence Force for its declared commitment to a maintained relationship with the Geriatric Hospital, sharing squarely in Colonel Quintyne’s view that the interaction the very young have with the elderly in society can only redound to the benefit of the former –– as to the latter’s.
It is indeed grand for our youth ever to be respectfully mindful of the aged.