The grandmother. In every society I've come across so far, apart from the West, the main person in any household is the grandmother. Or maybe even grandgrand-...-mother, if she's still alive. It is always the oldest living parent, the grandest-parents so to speak, who ultimately have the final say. I've found this in traditional Asian cultures, in traditional African cultures, in Arctic cultures, in Siberian cultures, in Latin American cultures. Basically, everywhere but in the West. In our modern society, the authority of grand-parents diminishes in most families as soon as they retire. It is the working people, those who are earning money, who have the biggest authority, who are the most important. It's not experience that counts, it's money. That's why we hide our old and ill members of society. In the West, we put them in elderly homes. We are the only society that does that. Everywhere else, the grandparents live at home and the family takes care of them. There are some good reasons for keeping grandaparents at home. Without them, younger generations wouldn't even exist. It's a way of service and gratitude. Your (grand)parents have brought you to life and nurtured you for the first few decades of your life, and it's seems fair for you to do the same for theirr last decades of their life. The (grand)parents have lived through the most of things. They have knowledge and experience that only time can bring. In most cultures, people realised that. That's why they took care of the elderly. But I think in the West, two things started to change that. One is money, and the second one is health. And they are both connected. Non-Western societies didn't really have any of the diseases we have in the West. A good example of this is a book called the China study, which found that digestive diseases that affect a large proprotion of people in the West virtually don't exist in South East Asia. Why am I mentioning health? If you want to have respect, being healthy and sane is a prerequisite. Otherwise you're not respected, you are a burden. And being sane, being of a strong logical mind is probably more important than being of a strong physical body, especially in the older age. It is the mind, the exepreince, the reasoning that the younger generations should seek from their grandparents. If they are sick and unable to think well, there's no use. However, we as a society started to pursue money and power above all else. And above all else, also means above our health. How many people get sick because of overwork? Most, I'd argue. It might not be instant, but when you add up decades of ignorantly lived lives, it adds up. And if we'd listen to our grandparents, we might have done some decisions differently. But we only listen to them if we deem them wise, not if they're 'my mental nana who gave me a gift wrapped Argos catalogue for Christmas with two pounds glued onto the cover.' So, it's a tricky situation. We praise money, power, fame, influence and at the same time we sacrifice our health. This diminishes us as human beings in the old age, and instead of being respected we are made hidden from society, we are put in elderly homes and tied to our beds. There is one big difference between chasing money and chasing graceful old age, worthy of respect. Money can be gained instantly. Literally over-night. This also holds true for fame, power, influence. Or as we call it 'success.' One the other hand, being wise old person, takes time. This is implied in the word 'old' itself. It's not instant. It's not over-night. There's no quick online course for that. Instead, being wise old person, takes a lifetime. And not just any life-time. It takes a lifetime that has to include things like learning, experiencing, growing, depeloping, maturing, raising others, caring for others and above all caring for your own health. If you end up old and sick, old and insane, or even die before getting old, you cannot be a wise old person. So it's something that takes time. Effort. Work. It's something that peope forgot, and the status of old has been diminished. My goal is to be a wise old person. Even if it takes a lifetime.