Blog Post #2 “The Respect Elders Deserve” – Matthew Fuller

One thing that really struck me in my first week in Thailand was the idea of socio-cultural environment through the Human Ecology Model. The socio-cultural environment can be described as relationships, beliefs, language, laws, and cultural values and norms. I find this idea a lot different in Thailand than in the United States. For instance, I feel that in Thailand the elders are much more respected and are looked upon as people with wisdom and experiences that can benefit the community. I am not saying it is non-existent in the U.S. but it seems to be much more apparent here in the culture. One experience I had was when we visited the Chiang Dao School, the kids were so awesome and extremely respectful of their teaches and faculty. They were not only respectful to them but also to us foreigners, always properly greeting and staying engaged. It was really cool to see. I think this is extremely important due to the fact not only can you learn from the experiences and wisdom of an elder, but I believe it brings a sense of unity and foundation for a  strong community.

Another thing I have noticed is the diversity in Thailand. There are so many rich cultures in Thailand that are so different from each other.   It seems that everyone has a sense of Thai nationality, but also has rich traditions that are unique to their specific culture. It was also saddening to hear that minority groups are discriminated by some Thai people.  When visiting Pha Nok Kok village I was immersed in the Hmong  culture and was blown away about their traditions and culture. I loved how I could relate differences and similarities to my own culture to a culture that I had no prior knowledge of before this trip. It was an unforgettable experience to say the least. I found it also really cool to see the Hmong students in the group get to speak with the locals of the village. My fellow classmate Sia, did a wonderful job translating to English for a village elder as he was speaking to us.

Overall, the first week has been a truly eye opening and an experience incomparable to anything that I have ever done. I have met so many wonderful people and learned so many things that I cannot wait to see what the next weeks are like!

Photo of Acharn Cathy and my classmates and I with students of the Chang Dao School.


3 thoughts on “Blog Post #2 “The Respect Elders Deserve” – Matthew Fuller”

  1. I also agree with you that people in Thailand are very respectful to elders and foreigners. Every where I go, I can see that people show me respect and I also show them respect in return. By respecting each other, I can see that it really shows a sense of welcoming and unity in the community like you said.

  2. I found it interesting that you see very little in the U.S inreguards to respecting your elders. At first I wanted to disagree with you, but I have seen it. In my family elders are to be respected at all times, yet in my friends family she says whatever she wants to them with no respet. I also love the diversity and seeing how Thailand is also made up of different cultures.

  3. Thanks for the compliment Matthew. I agree with you. In the US we are taught to be more individualized, thus respecting for the elders are not really apparent and taught. Being born in Thailand and into a culture that values this respect of the elders, I have seen and experienced this first handed. I love seeing my family focusing and listening to what my Mom has to say whenever we have a meeting. Most of what my mom say in the meetings are from years and years of experiences and wisdom, and it makes me so proud when everything works out. Respecting elders create a sense of belonging, respected, loved, and valued within the community. While it’s a beautiful value that we all should cherish, I am afraid that it will eventually fade with the more individualize generations nowadays.

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