Based on my experiences, the vast majority of the elders simply don't know how to shepherd. Most simply fill a slot in the machinery. Some are on a glory trip and bask in being platform elders. They do not get sufficient training to shepherd and do not know the flock well enough to care. Do they know the names of the children and what they are doing in school etc? Do they even talk to them with meaningful conversation? Are they aware of the feelings of the infirm or do they even acknowledge them? Does each elder know where all the pubs live? When they make shepherding calls (and a few do) do they make it a point to bring their whole library to impress the sheep how much they know? After all each home does have its' own Bibles. If the elder does not personally know the appearance of the flock during good times, if a pub. has a problem he/she does not want to air the problem to a complete stranger - since an elder you do not know is really a stranger. THAT is not the time to get to know the sheep.
Are they prancing around the KH with a clip board looking important or do they have time to greet and converse with those attending?
I don't believe that most of the elders actually care for the flock. As long as they maintain status quo that keeps them in the light they are content. Not to say that there aren't some good ones but they are sparse.
Kids in their early teens may be able to have babies but that doesn't mean they can care for them responsibly. They need time (age) and experience and desire to be good parents. In some ways this is true of people who become elders before their time. However, it is the system that has been developed that is responsible for this inadequacy. Years ago we would get the CO who was the eyes and ears for the society and we would see changes and improvments in the congo. Each publisher was given the opportunity to express his/her grievances and be heard and all parties would benefit positively from mature counsel. Today the CO says he's not here to help with problems - this is the job of the elders. So the opportunity to see wrongs righted or matters cleared up is gone. It used to be the CO would come through and stay at any humble home that would accomodate him. He would carry a couple of luggages, had an older vehicle but he was full of wisdom and had a lot of lifes experience to share. He would eat what we ate and never make us feel inferior if we had a lack. We anticipated the visit and were built up to face lifes' problems.
Today some come through with the finest of everything. Expect the best of everything and when they leave we are let down because there was no spiritual buildup. They ( as examples) are seldom concerned about reactivating publishers. The vists are often on some sister whose husband has died or some such thing. For people who are having problems or are struggling with their faith, the PO makes sure such ones are not called on.
So the short of it is that - I don't think the majority have learned to care. I really hate to see those words on paper, but that's what I've observed.