Tag Archives: children

Learning to Be Lonely

“Loneliness is about the scariest thing out there.”  ― Joss Whedon

A colleague recently sent me an article about cities of the future and how human loneliness is now a serious design factor. Jessica Brown, the author, reminds us that;

  • humans are social animals
  • the current loneliness epidemic is now being called a public health crisis

Her first point is a little more complicated than first glance. Humans must have other humans in order to physically survive. You can’t leave a baby in the woods and hope he will just turn out okay. Sorry Tarzan. Parents and family are essential for human survival.

But it’s even more important than that. Not only are we dependent upon others to help us survive, during infancy and childhood, we need adults to teach us how to survive. Imagine all of the skills that you were taught in order to head off to first grade:

  • Asking for help
  • Going to the bathroom on your own
  • Obeying authority figures
  • Finding your way home
  • Making new friends (and enemies)

Have you read the recent research about children, social skills and time in front of a screen? Children and teenagers are spending so much time on their electronic devices – they are missing out on critical time with real people, learning real social skills, developing real relationships that could prepare them for adulthood. Instead, it seems that more and more young adults are not prepared for casual and even more developed relationships that protect them from loneliness.

Being on your phone busy with work, surfing through posts online, watching the latest media doesn’t replace social contact with real people. As children are learning to make their way in the world, they need to practice social skills like understanding non-verbal communication and environmental cues. These are difficult to attain when a majority of time is spent online.

When I walk into college classrooms these days they are filled with students and silent. There is rarely any talking, sharing or laughing. Everyone is sitting alone, attention locked on their cell phones. The zombie apocalypse has arrived.

Jessica Brown’s article reminds us that it’s often easier for us to rebuild the world we live in than take deep and difficult looks at our own selves and the ways we are raising the next generation.

 

Never Let Go

Madeleine L'Engle reads with granddaughters Lena, left and Charlotte (now Charlotte Jones Voiklis). L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” became a favorite of young people, Voiklis says today, because “kids read it and understand that they are not being talked down to.” Illustrates KIDSPOST-WRINKLE (category l), by Moira E. McLaughlin (c) 2012, The Washington Post. Moved Wednesday, March 14, 2012. (MUST CREDIT: From Crosswicks)

“No long-term marriage is made easily, and there have been times when I’ve been so angry or so hurt that I thought my love would never recover. And then, in the midst of near despair, something has happened beneath the surface. A bright little flashing fish of hope has flicked silver fins and the water is bright and suddenly I am returned to a state of love again — till next time. I’ve learned that there will always be a next time, and that I will submerge in darkness and misery, but that I won’t stay submerged. And each time something has been learned under the waters; something has been gained; and a new kind of love has grown. The best I can ask for is that this love, which has been built on countless failures, will continue to grow. I can say no more than that this is mystery, and gift, and that somehow or other, through grace, our failures can be redeemed and blessed.”

Madeleine L’Engle

In this day and age – family is sometimes all you’ve got. So many around us don’t even have that. Fragments are all that’s left. L’Engle describes her marriage as a construction project that travels like a roller coaster up and down through life. I get the sense that she felt it was something worth hanging on to – a relationship like no other that couldn’t be found elsewhere. A relationship that mattered, for the sake of her children, for the sake of her spouse and always – through the long haul – for her own sake.

  • We sometimes get exasperated with one another too quickly. Family has to learn how to stick it out to the bitter end. Take a long road trip together or get snowed in during Christmas.  Make sure there’s only one bathroom.
  • When you’re feeling sorry for yourself is the best time to start doing something for others. Families are where our children learn to live by seeing examples. Show them how to give instead of take.
  • Call your adult children and ask them how you can pray for them this week. Be sure you pray and then follow up, keep following up. Tell your children how they can pray for you.
  • Treat each moment together as if it were you last. That helps you to put things into better perspective. It helps you to stay in the moment and not lose sight of what is really important – right now.
  • The most important activity that members of a relationship and families learn how to do is to “get over themselves.”

The building of relationships is an ongoing project of success and failure. All that matters is that we never give up. Marriage and family takes work – a task that each generation has to put it’s shoulder to with a committed heart. No half measures will work. It’s encouraging to read the words of famous figures who affirm what a difficult journey it often is. It’s typically very discouraging to see every single week another famous couple calling it quits and then rationalizing their failure as a sensible decision. Your children have been raised watching this “play” over and over again. It will compete with the story you tell with your own lives together.

Building a civilization is accomplished in each daily decision to . It’s never perfect, it’s but a love built on failure, it is a mystery that can endure.

“In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive. Don’t insist on your rights, don’t blame each other, don’t judge or condemn each other, don’t find fault with each other, but accept each other as you are, and forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts…”Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

The Stage is Set

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“Dinner is not what you do in the evening before something else. Dinner is the evening.” – Art Buchwald

What was your family like around the dinner table when you were growing up? The answer to that question depends on how old you are, what generation you belong to…before or after handheld technology. That time around the dinner table helped to make you who you are and shouldn’t be discounted as something that just happens on it’s own.

More families today spend less time than ever gathered together around the dinner table during the week. All kinds of experts (even me) believe that the diminishing of this social practice is bad for our physical, moral, psychological, social and spiritual health – as individuals and a society.

A very interesting brief piece about this topic can be found here: A History of the Family Dinner in America

In general, family time together is shrinking. Today, that sort of time seems to be concentrated around carpooling to after-school activities and working together on mountains of homework. We are together trying to solve problems, driving around in the backseat and often plugged in to our devices.

Casually sitting around the table, reflecting on the day, listening to each other and providing guidance and feedback is one of the most crucial daily activities that families engage in.

Think of all that has come about to change the family dinner table:

  • The microwave and fast food
  • Cable TV turned on all the time
  • Cell phones
  • Afterschool activities (careers)
  • Mountains of homework
  • Single parent families
  • Two-career families

Do you think the day will soon come when most of our children will only gather around the table during special occasions and holiday celebrations? Will families only come together at inconsistent times and never know the rhythm and flow of daily gathering and sharing? Will children one day grow apart from their parent(s) too soon and lead lives much more independent than is healthy simply because their family cannot find the time to put everything else aside and be together?

There’s a Family Dinner Project working out of Harvard. It’s aim is to help promote the practice of family dinner by providing resources.

What makes us live lives that are self-destructive? What makes us raise children in ways that aren’t the very best? Why have we built a world in which we have to slowly kill ourselves in order to survive it? No one does any of this on purpose. Life just happens.

What about living your life instead letting your life live you?

“We can surely no longer pretend that our children are growing up into a peaceful, secure, and civilized world. We’ve come to the point where it’s irresponsible to try to protect them from the irrational world they will have to live in when they grow up. The children themselves haven’t yet isolated themselves by selfishness and indifference; they do not fall easily into the error of despair; they are considerably braver than most grownups. Our responsibility to them is not to pretend that if we don’t look, evil will go away, but to give them weapons against it.”  ― Madeleine L’Engle

Never Let Me Go

An older couple sitting on a grass bank

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Gordon Lightfoot

I’m sitting here looking around and I notice people that are always present, but I suddenly notice something for the first time. Something I’ve seen over and over again, but just now, I realize its significance. Something has been taking place day after day and the light is just now coming on in my brain and I see it for what it really is. It’s so essential, it holds everything together. It matters most.

“Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.” – Goethe

There’s that couple struggling together with a crippling disease. They work as a team getting up and preparing to walk to their next stop. All that the rest of us do automatically, these two must carefully manage over and over. They live their lives intertwined, making life work because they have each other. This is one thing they know they will always have.

Over there is another couple. Now that time has passed, I don’t think she always knows where or who she is. But he is faithfully at her side, her duty bound escort, Prince Charming and devoted spouse through better and worse. Who would have planned this sort of experience for those golden years? But as I watch week after week I know that these two surely aren’t living their life according to plan, they are living their lives as they are. He is not a master of his fate, never was, but he is certainly a master of his heart.

Sometimes there’s a commotion. Children of all ages are scurrying about trying to find their place. I can sometimes see a few faces filled with giant smiles that stand out. Dark hair and darker complexions blending in with siblings that are fair and towheaded. It’s clear that these children were chosen, rescued from unfortunate circumstances and embraced into a loving family. These young lives aren’t supposed to fully understand what’s happened. Their job is to live, learn and love. It’s a marvelous reminder of an eternal truth.

We believe in God who has adopted us in the same way.

All around me, each and every day,  I see the reality that none of us can make it without others who love us. We need to have people who are committed to us in deep ways (like marriage, blood, and adoption) intertwined in our lives. At times we think about these people, we just don’t think about them enough. We always take one another for granted. We get blown over without realizing who it is that’s always there to hold us up. We let another day pass just assuming that those people in our lives will still be there tomorrow, as if tomorrow itself were so certain.

…to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part…  (From the Book of Common Prayer)

Too Poor to Make a Family?

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A 2006 report, Charting Parenthood: A Statistical Portrait of Fathers and Mothers in America reveals some important connections between social class and family patterns.

Poor men and women were the least likely of any income group to be married, with the proportion married increasing as income increases. For example, 41 percent of poor men were married in 2001, compared to 66 percent of men with incomes at three or more times the poverty level. The marriage gap was even wider for women. Only about one in every three poor women is married, while about two of every three women with incomes at three or more times the poverty are married.

This difference undoubtedly reflects both the more advantaged backgrounds of those who marry, and the advantages of having multiple earners in the family that marriage can bring.

The percentage of poor men and women who are married has also been declining over the decade. Cohabitation is more common among poor men and women, declining markedly at higher income levels. Overall, 40 percent of all cohabiting relationships involve parents with children in the home.

There are numerous other facts, some alarming, many seemingly routine, but all ultimately describe an American family that is changing. While there are many reasons to explain current family patterns, the one that I wanted to point out here is the economic one.

Since the slow death of the great recession household incomes have still failed to rise. The number of people living in poverty and dependent upon the government for basic necessities continues to increase. Panic still plagues the middle class who are worried about jobs and taxes. These economic symptoms are causing people to organize themselves into different kinds of family patterns, new arrangements that harm today’s children and tomorrows future.

We are creating an ever widening gap between rich and poor. Our poorest citizens (with the largest birthrates) are raising children in broken families because the economy still isn’t working. These families will pay a brutal price right now as they try and manage families with children who stand a greater chance of:

  • A distorted self-identity
  • Poor health and obesity
  • Joining a delinquent subculture
  • Early exposure to sexuality and pornography
  • Lack of preparation for academic learning

But it’s our collective future as a society to which we must pay attention when we think about what’s happening now to these children.

Everyone is trying to solve the latest economic problem. We are American capitalists and the object of the game is to increase profits. There is nothing new here. But, Americans have also been very much concerned about the welfare of all our citizens, realizing that we’re all ultimately in the same boat. Raising the living standards of our neighbor actually helps us all.

As a significant segment of our population (45 million currently living below the poverty line) preparing their children for the future, it is our entire society that ultimately pays an even more terrible price.  As our leaders make economic decisions, let’s be certain to remind them that it’s our children and our future that’s really at stake.

 “Our hearts of stone become hearts of flesh when we learn where the outcast weeps.”  – Brennan Manning

 

 

Something is Missing

“I wonder how much of the day I spend just callin’ after you.” 
– Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Didn’t you notice when you were a teenager and your favorite band had a knock down drag out fight and then someone left or got kicked out (depends on who’s telling the story). Typically it never seemed the same again. That original sound was gone.

Everyone always talks about Journey after Steve Perry left…Arnel is close, but…

We just had a number of deaths in our Sunday School class this past month – moms and grandmothers. There are also a number of other older family members that are frail and needing ever more attention. Families lose members as life marches onward, but it’s never without grief.

Then all of a sudden a young wife and mother who is a dear friend suddenly died. She left behind three children and her husband. They were all just starting the next phase of their lives, kids finishing high school and heading off to college.

People all around you are living in families that are missing someone. These days, according to our social trends, these are choices that people have made. Divorce, abandonment, single-parenthood, and living alone are all much more “normal” than they have ever been. When families fall apart or when they never get stuck together in the first place, something is always missing from our lives. A spouse, parent, sibling, and extended family connection are all holes that never get filled up with substitutions.

That missing piece never gets replaced.

The family is a system that accomplishes essential tasks for individual survival and for the health of our entire society. The individual members of that system; parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. all fulfill important roles.

We have never stopped needing dads. The National Center for Fathering reports this alarming trend from census data:

Children Living with Mother Only-bwh graph

  • Source: US Census Bureau, “Living Arrangements of Children Under 18″: Tables –CH-2, CH-3, CH-4. 1960 – Present. U.S.  Census Bureau July 1, 2012.

What about the costs to our entire society? The U.S. Army now reports that only 30% of 18-24 year-olds would qualify for military service. The rest, 7 out of 10, can’t qualify because they are too fat, didn’t graduate from high school or have a criminal record.  That’s a whole set of family related problems that effect our entire nation.

No system is perfect, but why sabotage it with promiscuity, divorce, single parent-hood, fatherlessness, and illegitimacy? These versions of family life don’t work very well. It’s been documented. We keep doing it because we are shopping for happiness and settling for what’s left.  Once you have children, it’s never about you again…they aren’t here to make you happy, you’re here to raise them.

 “The home is the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose, and that is to support the ultimate career.”   – C.S. Lewis

Today, all I can think about are my friends who are trying to figure out how to put their lives back together as a family without their wife/mother.

greif-and-loss-in-adoption-relinquishment

I held a Jewel in my fingers
And went to sleep
The day was warm, and winds were prosy
I said, “Twill keep”

I woke – and chide my honest fingers,
The Gem was gone
And now, an Amethyst remembrance
Is all I own

– Emily Dickenson

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted…”

 

What Is Linklater’s “Boyhood” About?

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“He promised us that everything would be okay. I was a child, but I knew that everything would not be okay. That did not make my father a liar. It made him my father.”  – Jonathan Safran Foer

Did you see native Houstonian Richard Linklater’s groundbreaking film Boyhood yet? If you haven’t, then go see it THEN come back to read this post…

Everyone is talking about Boyhood because the film is a “documentary” of the life of Mason Jr. as he develops from a 6 year old until he arrives at college. The film took twelve years to make because he documented the same actor (Ellar Coltrane) throughout his progression through his “boyhood.”  This is what seems so remarkable to everyone. While watching the film one is dazzled at how seamless the transformations occur as Mason grows into adulthood. Of course we have all been raised on special effects and nothing should amaze us anymore. Perhaps what makes audiences so appreciative is the fact that they are witnessing a normal human process take place right before their eyes. A process that everyone witnesses all around them every single day, but probably takes for granted.

What was amazing to me about the film was something else.  While Mason was growing up in a single-parent home (as more than 40% of American children today are) he experienced many of the problems associated with this kind of life. Ultimately, upon reaching adulthood and launching off to college, Mason seemed completely lost and lacking any sort of direction and connection to meaning. For me it was a tragic story because I read the reports and know that this movie was probably very similar to the real experience of many of today’s teens and young adults. The most bitter aspect of this tragedy is that our society seems oblivious to what’s happening to our children because of our fickle commitment to family.

  • Mason was an unplanned birth by two young parents who divorced and did not maintain a healthy communication with one another.
  • Mason’s father was eager to create a meaningful relationship with his children but his own lifestyle prevented much stability. He only made sporadic visits. His children were unable to watch him model as a parent.
  • Mason’s mother, like most single moms, worked hard to make ends meet and ultimately decided to go back to school to increase her chances of a better paying job. This meant less time with her children as they were growing up. When she was with her children, time was not spent providing order and discipline but trying to create a close friendship.
  • The family, like most single families had to move and the children had to leave friends and schools behind. This created a level of constant chaos and emotional anxiety in their lives.
  • New stepfathers and step-families were created along the way as Mason’s mother tried to provide a better life for herself and her family. This often ended up exposing her children to unhealthy relationships, more abandonment and cynicism about adults.
  • Both Mason and his sister were initiated into drug use, alcohol and sex at an early age. Their mother seemed to condone the behavior, maintaining a friendship being her ultimate goal.
  • When Mason did have experiences with adults who tried to instill in him useful social values it was typically someone who he did not respect or who sounded like a step-father from his haunted past. Mason’s own father encouraged him as a free spirit while he himself was selling his hot rod and buying a mini-van.
  • An ironic scene in the film, Mason’s mother is teaching a college course in psychology. The lecture she is giving in this scene is about British psychologist John Bowlby and his attachment theory. Infant’s healthy attachments to primary caregivers (mothers and fathers) are essential for their later emotional development.
  • The actor who played Mason Jr., Ellar Coltrane, experienced the break up of his own family while he was making this film. He reports that one of the film crew ended up teaching him how to drive when it came time to get his license. That’s an important rite of passage for a son.

For me it was a very haunting experience as the film ended with Mason walking through the Big Bend scenery at sunset. He has traveled to the end of his childhood and was just as lost as a baby would have been. He was never given the healthy grounding in reality, the basic lessons about life, the foundational experiences of love and acceptance that all children ought to have in order to make a healthy and strong start to live.

I’m not naive, I realize that teens rebel and college kids can get really flaky. That’s not what I’m talking about here. Linklater wrote a script that seemed to present Mason as a harmless, sweet, genial yet completely lost young man once he journeyed off to college. He didn’t have anything to rebel against. In the film Mason’s mother and father never really spent the consistent and constant time instilling into him by their presence and practice what it means to love and be loved.

No one has a perfect family to grow up in. That’s not the point. My large point is that we are witnessing the disintegration of the core social institution in our civilization and no one seems very bothered. Less than 20% of American households are made up of a married couple with children. No one is raising any alarms. No one is calling it what it is – The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

When the film ended I was sitting in the the theater trying to catch my breath and process what I had just witnessed. I could hear people around me standing up and clapping.

“Civilization is a race between disaster and education.”  – H.G. Wells

Secret Messages and a Possible Future

“No matter how far we come, our parents are always in us.”
Brad Meltzer

super-childOne day when your children are almost adults one of them will say something aloud that will knock you off your chair. He will remember something that you said, something that you didn’t even remember at the time saying, it was so quick and sudden and even sharp. But it was remembered. You will be amazed that he even heard much less remembered and can now recite those words.

“We define our identity always in dialogue with, sometimes in struggle against, the things our significant others want to see in us. Even after we outgrow some of these others—our parents, for instance—and they disappear from our lives, the conversation with them continues within us as long as we live.”   – Charles Taylor

Your whole lives together you are communicating messages to your children. So much of that communication seems secret because (1) you don’t think anyone is listening (2) it didn’t seem that important at the time, and (3) maybe you said it so often that it became automatic. When your children grow up, those secret messages will often come to light. They will rise from the dead and you will see that they were either nourishing the soul or haunting the emerging self.

Social Psychology introduces to us the term Possible Selves. We think about our future self and either anticipate with optimism all that is possible OR we imagine a negative potential with a pessimistic future outlook. What kind of a person do you want to be next week, next year, in ten years? These days, how limitless/limited are all your possibilities?

When we build our future self we use all sorts of materials to put it together – including those secret messages our parents gave us.

  • If you didn’t get enough positive and inspiring secret messages (and deliberate parenting!) when you were growing up, research tells us that you should think about those experiences as a part of your distant past. Instead focus on the self you are now creating and the successes you have more recently experienced. This helps your autobiographical memory work for you rather than against you.
  • If you are a parent, relative or adult friend, think about what you are communicating in all the little words, gestures and expressions you pass on to the children in your life. Everyone is building a self. It’s a group project.

“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.” … [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”      – Henri Nouwen

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. – I John 3:16

We All Need Somebody To Love

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“Have you noticed that only in time of illness or disaster or death are people real?” – Walker Percey

Usually it’s when the bottom falls out that we discover what we’re made of.

  • Remember when your car was in the shop and your friend from work gave you a ride – for a week?
  • What about when your dad was in the hospital and your neighbor took care of your kids after school?
  • Two years ago when your friend from church was going through cancer treatments and you signed up to take meals over to her house.
  • When the hurricane hit and all those people were displaced and needed so much help getting back on their feet.

We also realize who we can count on as the going keeps getting tougher and rougher. For most of us, our families are the deep reservoir (usually taken for granted) that we  can depend upon when a disaster hits. What’s troubling is that for a growing number of Americans family is becoming a weakened resource as relationships fracture and bonds become more and more temporary.

Anthropologists use the term “Fictive Kinship” to describe those members of your family who aren’t related by marriage or biology. They are your Godparents, your best friends, your friends for life, that guy who’s just like a brother…

“One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives.”  – Euripides

Many of us have these “fictive kin” in our families. We probably don’t have enough. Less than 20% of families in our country today are composed of a married couple with children. What we once called “family” is changing for all kinds of reasons.

What never changes is the deep need every one of us has for connections with others and the difficult circumstances that we will face during the course of our lives. Getting through life works better when you’ve got a team at your back.

“Having someone wonder where you are when you don’t come home at night is a very old human need. ”   – Margaret Mead

As our collective marital and biological ties to people begin to dwindle, we need to take a good hard look at the consequences. While we’re doing that, we need to compensate by make deep and abiding connections with others. People with friends are healthier, make more money and live longer. It’s even been suggested that it’s a toss up about which you should do to insure a healthier and longer life, give up smoking or make more friends.

When we face disasters in our life we need people to help us with all the little things as well as the great big ones. Everything is important. When the bottom falls out it is these “kinfolk” who come out of the woodwork and save the day.

“A friend is one who walks in when others walk out.”  – Walter Winchell

There isn’t a sign up sheet at Starbucks to get a set of “fictive kin” to add to your  family. What you need to do is start helping a friend of yours. Start building stronger bonds by bridging the gaps of time, distance and indifference. We all follow the “norm of reciprocity” to some degree – when you scratch my back, I feel obligated scratch yours. Those kinds of obligations are the building blocks of civilization. We don’t get by asking, we get by giving. Who needs you today? Start giving a little bit of yourself. A little more today than yesterday. One day soon you too will need someone.

How Many Days For Mom?

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Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.  – Oliver Wendell Holmes

I met a mom recently. She was with her son as he visited the university. They were trying to figure out the future. She wasn’t wearing a wedding ring so I assumed that it was just the two of them striking out on this next adventure together. He seemed very excited and full of questions. He was looking down toward his future and his eyes were glazed with hope.

She smiled during our interview and asked questions like any concerned parent. I glanced over at her every now and then and I think I could see a glimmer in her own eyes. She was looking down toward that same future with her son but her gaze was filled with a tinge of sadness and a lonely acceptance. She knew he was leaving one day, one day soon. As a single parent, maybe they had fought some hard battles together to make their lives work. They seemed to have a strong friendship that would always last.

One day a Mother’s Day will come and you will wonder how you ever made it without her. Somehow in a thousand little ways she pushed you into a hope that maybe she never had.

I’ve got a friend whose mom is far away and trying to manage the health care of her frail husband. He’s been in the hospital and he’s not recovering well. She has so many hard decisions to make all by herself. His mind has been fading away for some time now. My friend is far away and so busy. He’s in that stage of life where it’s now his turn to care for his aging parents. The roles are shifting. They don’t always shift easily for everyone. I’m sure that she’s scared, lonely and dreading the future. Who wouldn’t have those feelings?

One day a Mother’s Day will come and you realize that your mom needs you more than words will ever communicate.

As we approach our celebration of Mother’s Day, think about how that social role – MOM – has changed in your lifetime.

Our moms are on the job. Actually on two jobs. Seventy percent are working outside the home and all are working at home. When women come home from work and then “clock in” to start on all the housework that must be done, we call this the second shift. There are all kinds of ways that working families have figured out how to share the load, but research continues to reveal that mom bears most of the burden, still. Maybe its time for you to get up off the couch or come out of your room and unload the dishwasher or do some laundry without saying a word.

And keep helping because it’s the right thing to do.

I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. – Abraham Lincoln

Forty percent of our children are now raised by a single mom. That has certainly changed the role of MOM in our families. She’s now left the home and gone to work, many are working an extra job to make ends meet. Who’s at home when the bus drops the kids off from school? Who’s helping with all that extra homework these days? Who’s teaching all those lessons about what it means to be an adult?

Who’s got time?

Somehow it gets done for so many. Don’t you know single moms who have made it work? Who have figured out how to raise remarkable children AND make the ends come together each month. Where’s the big glow in the dark trophy for those moms?

Most that I know aren’t even mildly interested in that kind of recognition. What they want more than anything you can see in their eyes when they watch their child from across the room as he talks to a new friend or adult.  She watches and knows that the tears, stand-offs and pitched battles were worth it all.

Happy Mother’s Day…everyday

 

I love my mother for all the times she said absolutely nothing…. Thinking back on it all, it must have been the most difficult part of mothering she ever had to do: knowing the outcome, yet feeling she had no right to keep me from charting my own path. I thank her for all her virtues, but mostly for never once having said, “I told you so.”   — Erma Bombeck