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Many lessons are taught to us when we are young. These are those lessons that should stay with us for life. However, as we advance into young age, we often forget these very basic lessons. One such lesson that is always taught to young kids and which they often forget when they grow old is- respect your elders. When you were young, your parents, guardians and teachers must have repeated to you ever and anon that you must respect your elders. The lesson must have percolated into the unconscious minds of some of us and skipped that of others. This explains much of why some people from the young generation do not respect their elders.
Always respect your elders. When we are in a social gathering there are many small things that we do consciously or unconsciously which speak a lot about us. While in a social setup when you disrespect someone elderly, apart from hurting the sentiments of the old person, you also establish yourself as an ill-behaved human being. One must always remember that it is our elders who made us the person that we are and thus, they deserve every ounce of respect from us. Disrespecting elder shows that you do value the contribution that they have made to your life. Also, you should respect your elders for the simple reason that they are much older to you and thus, they deserve all the respect in the world.
Even if one has to go out of their way to show respect to their elders, they should not stop themselves from doing it. However, there are certain things normal and basic things that show how much you respect your elders and thus, you should always keep them in your mind. Here are a few of them:
Never address an elderly person by their name: A lot of people have the habit of addressing people by their name. One should not do so in case of elderly people. Even if you wish to call them by their name, show respect by adding a polite “Mr.” or “Miss.” Or “Mrs.” An even better idea is to address them with Sir or Madam. This is a very straight nuance that you should keep in mind.
Similarly, there are some other small polite things that you should always do show courtesy and respect to your elders. For instance, if you are sitting comfortably and an elderly person is standing anywhere near you, always stand up and offer your seat to them. Sometimes, we are so engrossed talking about our own lives with people of our age that we end up ignoring the older people. The truth is that older people have a lot of experience and have learned from it. Thus, their advice is valuable and one should always pay proper heed to it because this way, not only is you showing respect to your elders but also because you are getting to learn from them.
Older people need help at times. With age, all of us grow old and weak and our bodies begin to dwindle physically. Thus, they often need assistance and as someone physically stronger, you should always extend a hand of help towards them. Always open the door of the car or the room when an elderly person walks in. Similarly, if they walk with a crutch, hold their hand while walking.
Give time to your elders: Respect your elders and give time to them. When people get old, a lot of things start to change in their life. To start with, since they leave work, they are left with a lot of free time to spend. Unfortunately, since when people get old, their social life does not remain very active. This results in a lot of boredom. Make sure that you do not allow your elders to get bored by spending time with them and not leaving them entirely on their own.
Respecting your elders is one of those qualities that speak oodles about the kind of person that you are. The way you respect your elders shows the way you have been bought up and the values that you carry with you. The way you treat the elder people also speaks about your kindness, honesty, humanitarian approach etc. Respecting your elders is one of those lessons that one should never forget.
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Last Updated: January 15, 2018
Common grace and manners are to treat our elders with dignity and respect. Sadly, instead of treating our elders with the appreciation and respect they deserve, many are often either too busy or simply dismiss them and their contributions to their community and family.
Why It’s Important to Treat Our Elders With Respect
Seniors have a thing or two to teach us about enduring change and handling life’s adversity. Even if a senior’s hearing or memory isn’t what it was in the past, our elders have great wisdom to impart.
Younger generations must learn the importance of respecting their elders and make time to listen and spend quality with them.
Dr. Cheryl Woodson, a geriatrician and the author of “To Survive Caregiving: A Daughter’s Experience, A Doctor’s Advice” feels very strongly about treating elders with the respect they deserve:
“I hate it when people call seniors ‘cute.’ My 89-year old Aunt Terri does all the seating charts for events and trips for her senior group. She taught five line dancing classes a year until two years ago when she thought her hearing loss made her a less effective teacher, even though her classes disagreed… These people are powerful. They created the comforts younger Americans take for granted. They are not cute like babies or puppies, and I think it’s demeaning to treat them as though they are. We must treat our elders with respect, even if their bodies or minds are beginning to fail them.”
When Ageism Is Rampant
People can become uncomfortable dealing with the emotions of aging and the trials and tribulations of the golden years, which contributes to ageism. Ageism is defined as a tendency to regard older persons as debilitated, unworthy of attention.
Unfortunately, this sentiment is rampant, but we have to remember that seniors are knowledgeable people who have something to contribute to society in the wisdom they’ve gained from their life histories, even if it’s a story about life or history. It’s more than respect — it’s about really taking the time to listen to our grandparents and parents.
The simple act of paying attention does wonders, even if loved ones suffer from cognitive diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. After all, learning history and spending quality time together can benefit everyone and create irreplaceable memories.
Our grandparents and parents raised us to believe in the importance of treating others with courtesy and respect. These past generations have held tight to their dignity, ethics, faith, honesty and integrity; which is exactly why condescending or even inadvertent belittling is not okay — even when the goal is to protect, rather than harm.
Dr. Woodson comments:
“One of my pet peeves is providers calling seniors by their first names. They do this thinking that familiarity signifies bonding and is less intimidating. That may be true for children or for people with dementia who have regressed to an earlier time and remember only their first names. However, for many seniors, it is just disrespectful, especially when the person speaking to them is younger. Many seniors will not comment, but they will withdraw, making further communication ineffective.”
What Caregivers Should Take Note Of
Being a caregiver can be a tough responsibility, as the role can be both emotionally and physically taxing. It will demand devotion and patience since the loss of independence is one of the most difficult transitions for anyone who suddenly requires the intrusion of a caregiver. Being patient in difficult situations can be exhausting, but showing our elders respect is always the best choice.
It’s important to remember to be not only considerate, but also polite to people whose bodies and minds are aging, simply because of the hands of time. Ageism exists, but being kind and showing compassion is at least one step in the right direction in a world that is often devoid of manners.
For more information on Dr. Woodson and her books, visit her blog: “Straight Talk with Dr. Cheryl.” Facebook, or website.
Have you experienced ageism? How do you think society should deal with disrespect toward seniors? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.