Monday, 28 March 2016
Elders and Betters - Holly Peckitt
Elders and Betters
Definition – An idiom reflecting the idea of respecting those who are elder than ourselves simply because they older, and therefore ‘better.’ E.g. When we were children, we were always taught to respect our elders and betters.
In December, I turned 17. Legally, at this point, there’s a lot I can do. I can learn to drive, if I want to, I can have sex, and with parental permission, I can get married, I can gamble too. But there’s also a lot I can’t do, and often I find that part of that comes with the "teen" label. Aside from the alcohol, the voting, tattoos and piercings, there is my own voice, which is silenced by our society with an aging population.
I may be nearly an adult, but I feel that my and every other teenager’s voice is disregarded, thrown away, ignored by the people who are supposed to be our "Elders and Betters". We, the future leaders, rulers, citizens, are granted very little say in our own lives. Currently the British Prime Minister David Cameron has decided that the 2016 EU Referendum as to whether the UK remains part of the European Union vote will not be open to 16 and 17 year olds. Recently it was announced that the vote will be held on June 23rd. That’s 6 months and 1 day before my 18th birthday. It’s fine for any adult who votes and gets their way but we are younger. We live here too. We will have to live with the consequences (or benefits) of other people’s actions for longer than they will themselves. The votes of elder teenagers could completely change the way the vote goes, and we are raring to go to the ballot boxes. But instead, someone who won’t live with the outcome for nearly as long as us, decides that because we are young, because we are not wise, because we cannot be trusted, that we have no choice in what happens.
Of course, this isn’t the only example. Have you ever felt irked by the phrase Elders and Betters? Have you ever been told that you don’t have much respect for those who are older than you? Doesn’t everything feel wrong about that phrase? Just because somebody has lived longer, by no means should that say that they fit into the criteria of someone who deserves to be respected. I have known many adults who due to their actions I have and never will have any respect or reverence for. We should treat everyone, no matter their age with respect, not just those who demand it because they’re over 18.
As I get older, I feel I become more and more internally rebellious. I don’t outright rebel in the way other people do, but I feel fury towards adults who are so controlling and dominant over teenage spirits. If I’m ever somebody’s mother, I think I’d parent very differently to how I’ve witnessed friends and peers in the past – because I can’t stand watching the condescension of adults to children.
We live in a world where because we’re teenagers, young, we are told that we don’t know what love is or we’re too young to understand politics or even when you get older, you learn what’s really important. GIVE US SOME CREDIT!
Holly Peckitt is a 17 year old blogger over at Lost in a Library, and can be described as a Ravenclaw, Musician and a Writer. You may find her on Twitter @HollyPeckitt and on her blog.
Holly makes some absolutely brilliant points here- it can be so frustrating when your opinions are constantly vetoed and shunned because of your age. It's infuriating when decisions are made that will impact upon your future, your life and yet no one bothers to ask for your opinion.
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