Dear brothers and sisters!
Ukrainians have been keeping and passing the wonderful humane tradition of respect for the elderly from one generation to other for centuries.
The problem of understanding between different groups of Ukrainian society made it felt in the 20th century with the introduction of bellicose atheism, and furthermore aggravated at the beginning of the 21st century.
The incidence of adult population increased over the past decades in our country, the life expectancy and fertility moreover decreased. The rapid aging of the village forced increased migration of young people from villages to cities.
Speaking about the democratization of society, powerful officials are trying to replace the concept by means of introduction of unacceptable living standards, contrary to Christian values under the guise of introduction of European values. "Sometimes, - reports the beautified Svyatoslav, the Head of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, - Christians are ashamed of their faith in everyday life. Certain duality comes then: we pray devoutly and demonstratively in the church, but when we leave the temple we behave as if the God did not exist. Our faith does not affect often our daily live. So maybe we need to be more uncompromising: we shouldn’t be ashamed to be Christians. If the democracy is not based on any moral law or true value, it loses its moral compass and keeps on degrading. So today we can observe certain moments of degradation of democracy."
Lack of knowledge about the traditions and customs of Ukrainian people, folklore and Christian faith leads to misunderstanding, conflicts between people of different generations and different ideological positions, loss of knowledge about the life of previous generations and misunderstanding of behaviour of human actions. These conflicts are aggravated by increase of disadvantaged, antisocial, conflict families and low level of parental education.
Ukrainian Association of Retired Persons developed the program Dialogue of Generations 10 years ago, that was first introduced on the 7th of March 2003. Some television channels informed about the peculiarities of the program. Information about the aspects of the stated program is to be found at our webpage www.uarp.org. The program's goal is creation of optimal conditions for overcoming the split in Ukrainian society, promotion of positive climate in the structure of social relations, improvement of life quality of the generations in the process of interaction and practical activities in spiritual, social and economic spheres.
Family has always been a treasure of human senses and spirit since langsyne. Family tradition includes generation memory, customs, traditions, mother's song, father's house, grandmother's embroidery and grandfather’s tale: this all means genealogical memory, our symbols and history. Children, whom we educate, should be able to understand and feel that spirituality and morality, and sense of duty are an everyday norm.
Great importance in the education of full-grown man plays the establishment of trust between parents and children. Society needs badly active reasonable response to the lack of a permanent partner interaction of different generations. These actions should make it possible to overcome mutual distrust, suspicion and insincerity, lack of cooperation between people of different generations.
Unfortunately, the authorities pay no proper attention to discrimination of the elderly in our country and do not consider it necessary to take effective measures to prevent this. And the government inaction in this field is a great sin. The level of confidence in the government is very low in Ukraine, and therefore its activity, especially in the humanitarian field has too small efficiency.
In this situation the role of churches of all denominations is increased more than ever, because people find chicken soup for the heart and soul in the spiritual sphere. And that’s because older people respect greatly the clerics who keep on promoting eternal Christian values despite the crisis. His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr said once in interview: "It's a shame that the older generation feels thrown into the backyard of social life in our society today. This generated contributed greatly to the development of the country. A society humiliating the seniors by means of cadging and suppression cannot be called civilized society, and even more Christian one. And the point is that not only difficult economic situation, but also the spiritual poverty of society were inherited from the times of bellicose atheism.
"According to Metropolitan Volodymyr, the leading role plays the family and family upbringing: "It is of great importance what spiritual education is given to children by their parents. Parents should teach their children from the very childhood how they should treat the elderly and their peers, as the Lord teaches us in the Gospel. If they prove what they are promoting by their own example, this will be a solid foundation for the every family. And the children brought up properly by their parents would make a solid foundation for the future families. This is the only way to keep the family in harmony."
State institutions mention family problems mostly only when no harmony is to be found in a particular family. Even in the legislation refers to the term "disadvantaged family" and no Ministry in charge of family and youth can bring harmony in the relationship between generations. Only spiritual education combined with family education can give the desired effect.
The unity of generations and society as a whole would become a reality not due formality and bureaucratic guidelines, but only by means of true spiritual and universal unity. The patriarch of Ukraine and the RusFilaret mentioned: "The recipe for unification is the renunciation of selfishness, service of oneself and to own interests. Only the love unites. Love unites husband and wife, children and parents or friends. It is the love to unite the entire nation. The more love we have for one another, the stronger will be the family and society, and the state itself."
Unity of generations and fight against the discrimination of older citizens require unity of churches, religious units and solidarity of all Christians. The Joint Declaration of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I from the 30th of November 2006 informs: "We call for the establishment of closer connection between Christians and to true and honest interreligious dialogue in order to fight against any form of violence and discrimination."
The Church Hierarch Borys, the bishop of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the rector of Ukrainian Catholic University described very aptly the current crisis situation in a society where the aspiration for solidarity comes more and more obvious. He is asserting that every man is a treasure. When we dedicate our time to somebody, our ability to solidarity is growing. It is worth generating our ability to solidarity, by means of rejecting stereotypes about people. We have lost the value of common home and table, the ability to have meal together with family at the fundamental level. We count calories, vitamins, but do not share our meal with the family. Our parents and grandparents were able to dine together, and many young people aren’t aware of this fact. That time was indicated by its own rhythms, which provided peculiar solidarity: common lunch on Sunday. Today it is much harder. But I am deeply convinced that there is no situation when the human spirit cannot reach our soul and that is the answer to our deepest aspirations. But the fact, that Ukrainian society started talking about solidarity is the deepest start."
Dear brothers and sisters!
The problem of parents and children did not occur today. Just recall the well-known parable of Christ about the Savior of the prodigal son. “The story of the prodigal son, - says His Beatitude Volodymyr, - we can meet not only in the Gospel, but also in our life: social, family and personal life of man, not taking into account ethical principles, living on his own will and guided only by his own selfish reasons. The story of the prodigal son should remind every sinner of himself, fate, mistakes and of the possibility of returning. Everyone can and should feel the joy of being at the father's house and feel father's love and how it is painful is when we retreat from parental wills, living complacently, sinfully, we can even say in vain”.
Let us promote jointly the dialogue of generations, strengthen the Christian values in our society regardless of affiliation to the different denominations.