Our elders have done a lot for us, directly or indirectly and most of us owe everything to their kindness and love. They are ahead of us in age, wisdom, maturity, experience and education. It is they who guide us throughout our childhood and teach us what is right and what is wrong.
When we show them respect whether by touching their feet or folding our hands, it is a way of expressing our love and gratitude to them. Besides, elders have also been through all the phases that you are going through and know a lot more about the world than you do because of their experience.
It is likely that you do not agree with the beliefs and the sentiments of your elders. All younger generations have always disagreed with their elders and it is these differences that bring changes in human society.
It is often said that the modern generation has lost respect for the elders. Partly this is because, with changing times and cultural influences, youngsters no longer know what is interpreted as disrespect to elders.
In earlier times too, there were disagreements and debates but youngsters would quietly express their views and if there were arguments, they would not raise their voices. Nowadays children fight back, causing an ugly war of words.
However when you do simple things as a mark of respect, elders become aware that youngsters care for them, and they respond with affection and kindness.
When you give up your seat as a mark of respect to an elder, it is also because younger people have the strength to bear discomfort, so it is natural to show consideration to those who are older.
Our elders have accumulated a lifetime of experience so we should listen to their advice and also take their blessings which are invaluable. It is in our own interest that we give them our time, our listening, our interaction and our gratitude.