Today is a national holiday in Japan called Keiro-no-Hi (pronounced kay-row-no-hee), which means Respect-for-the Aged Day. It is a day to thank the elderly for their contribution to society and celebrate their longevity. In Japan, families celebrate with dinner; communities deliver bento boxes to elders in the neighborhood and school children host performances.
It’s a shame that we don’t celebrate Respect-for-the-Aged Day in the U.S. yet. If I could jump on my soapbox for one minute, I would shout, “stop, listen and learn from the elders around you.”
I’ve met many fascinating elders at the assisted living community where my dad lives. Just last week, I attended an hour and a half presentation from Mr. Gray about his six-week trip to Alaska. His presentation was on par with a National Geographic special with beautiful photos, facts, stats and history mixed in with his personal stories. And, Mr. Gray wasn’t on some fancy senior cruise to Alaska. He drove by himself from Marin to Seattle (about 1,000 miles), and then traveled by ferry for three days, to reach his destination where he camped and fished with his sons. Mr. Gray is in his late 80’s and is a role model. He’s active and embraces life. If I didn’t take the time to get to know him, it would truly be my loss.
So even though we aren’t in Japan, let’s celebrate Respect-for-the-Aged Day. Take a few minutes to call your folks, bring an elderly neighbor a sweet treat or just say hello to someone older and wiser.