Forever Under Construction

Salam Inni! Salam Baba!

Posted in Personal by homeyra on November 19, 2006

My parents were not intellectuals … maybe I should review this assessment within its proper context. But I am not totally wrong if I say that they had a sort of “intuitive wisdom”… I definitely should think about all that … later 🙂

This “elaborate” introduction was to say that one thing we learned when we were kids was to say proper “Hello” to anyone we met. First we had to stand up, stop doing whatever we were doing, and look at them. Then it was up to them to nod, shake our hand, kiss us, answer back or even ignore. We had to wait respectfully until the person had any of the above reactions. Saying a proper Hello was mandatory for us, regardless of the newcomer’s social status. We were kids and had to treat all elders with deference.

This attitude was forged into us without explanation or justification as modern parents do. This was the way to behave and that was that.

Although my father was rather unconventional, I have no childhood memories of my parents disregarding or disrespecting any human being.

I never thought about all that afterwards for a long time, but I have always been very sensitive to this simple and daily moment of encounter, like others I had my periods of “self-affirmation” and did the opposite of all that I was taught to do. But I always felt uneasy when in a friendly gathering or a meeting, people would ignore a newcomer. In ordinary situations, I definitely hate this loose hand shake from a person looking somewhere else.

Later in life we have a better understanding of things-in order to accept or reject, or we embellish our memories. Now I think that a proper Hello, this simple acknowledgement of the “other“, means a lot. I think of Hannah Arendt

We were also taught to say proper “goodbye“, but I am not going to reveal all that in just one post! 🙂


7 Responses

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  1. naj said, on November 19, 2006 at 2:47 pm

    Salaam 🙂

    I truly wish the concept of “respect for olders” will not suffer the post-modern assault on the Persian culture. When I talk about this to my (non-iranian) friends, they consider that form of respect and politeness towards elders to be an artificial construct that limits the individualism of the child! (as I write, Tedd Koppel and Robin Wright are on Meet the Press, saying that “don’t mess with Iran, it’s a sophisticated country!”) But in my opinion, respecting elders anchors child’s individualism and provides him with a ground and an origin from which his individuality can emerge, and evolve.

  2. homeyra said, on November 19, 2006 at 5:11 pm

    Saaalaam Naj 🙂
    I saw something interesting about what you wrote, have to find the link, will forward later. In the other hand our eccentric Professor has also a point when he quotes: Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split…

  3. naj said, on November 19, 2006 at 6:14 pm

    So true! So at the end of civilization, man becomes a savage again! 🙂

  4. Alibaba said, on November 19, 2006 at 6:46 pm

    Inni , takes two N’s,
    Port of Spain

  5. homeyra said, on November 19, 2006 at 8:21 pm

    Oui Monsieur 🙂

  6. peoplesgeography said, on November 20, 2006 at 5:55 am

    I can relate to this and the post is a great read. We were also taught manners and extending a modicum of common human respect and acknowledgment to strangers. I will always admire and strive to practise this polite dignity of our culture (having Middle Eastern born parents myself), not to mention its renowned hospitality!

  7. homeyra said, on November 20, 2006 at 10:58 pm

    Thx PPGG 🙂
    I expect you in Teheran anytime soon.

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