If you’re the kind of punk, coward or miscreant—or perhaps a police officer—who thinks it’s okay to knock over old people, this word: We’re not your pushovers. Sure, we’re easy targets—our canes, walkers, stooped shoulders or shuffling gaits give us away—but that doesn’t mean we deserve your brand of violence.
When you knock us over—for whatever reasons—it may seem that we lose: We stumble and fall. When you push us over, physically or metaphorically, you insult us deeply and empty out our good feelings about ourselves. You take away our dignity.
Truth be told, though, you’re probably the losers. Older adults are admired and respected by most folks. So when you do any kind of violence to us, a lot of people get angry. Why’s that? Pushing around old people is probably the worst example of cowardice. No one likes cowards. And if you get caught hurting one of us within range of a camera, your actions will be shared widely. You will be toast.
Perhaps what’s saddest here is that we could be your best advocates or helpers. Some of us were punks, cowards or miscreants when we were younger. We have known and cared about people like you. When you treat us like pushovers, you risk turning us from being your allies and caregivers into your critics or worse. Your actions make it hard to understand or forgive you. You end up being all alone.
We don’t want you to lose, so here’s another idea: When you’re tempted to knock old folks around, stop right there. Think instead how you and we could talk together. About yourself, your life and your hopes for the future. Probably a better way to go—maybe even the Jesus Way….
How’s that sound, hmm?