As I get older, I hear more from friends and colleagues about their struggles with their aging parents. A close friend is headed to Colorado to meet with her siblings to discuss care arrangements for their declining 90 year old father. Her dad doesn’t want to hear about obtaining help, assisted living, or any plans for hospice. He’s an independent, strong-willed, self-reliant cowboy who likes being in control. His 10 adult children see the writing on the wall. His quality of life is going to spiral downhill in a hurry. They worry that a crisis will force his hand. They want to come up with... Read More
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Family Talk Blog
My wife and I recently returned from a week-long trip to New York City to visit our adult daughters. They live two blocks away from each in the wilds of Brooklyn and are both doing very well in their chosen paths.
It seems like yesterday when they were young and like all parents, my wife and I worried about their future. What kind of adults would they turn out to be? Would we like them? Would they like us? Would they be happy?
Recently, a mom raised these same kind of child-rearing worries at the end of one of her visits: “Will my child have the same values as an adult... Read More
This weekend, while on call for our behavioral health department, I received a call from a distressed mom of a teenage girl. While this careful mom was reviewing the contents of her daughter’s cell phone (not a bad idea!), she found “selfies” that had been sexted to her boyfriend. The pictures were pretty graphic! Her mom just couldn’t understand why her daughter would do such a dumb thing. “Doesn’t she realize that these photographs could be posted all over the Internet?!” The fact is that teenagers don’t think much before they act. Their brains are still developing, and their pre-frontal... Read More
Do you change the oil in your car every 3000 miles? Do you vacuum your house or apartment weekly? Do you clean your furnace yearly? Do you weed your garden and mow your lawn?
It’s amazing how much time we spend keeping our property and prized possessions shipshape. If we don’t, cars begin to rattle, roofs start to leak, and furnaces, well, they’re likely to break down in the middle of winter. Yet, of all of the things we need to maintain, we often spend the least amount of time tending to thing that needs it the most—our marriage.
Think about the time you spend maintaining... Read More
I read an essay in The New York Times this winter (“Ashes to Ashes, but first a nice pine box”, February 2, 2014, by Jeffrey Piehler) that was very moving, despite it’s dark theme. Dr. Piehler was diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer eleven years ago. But finally, the warranty on his life is running out, and he suggested to his wife that he build his own coffin. Of course, she was horrified. But the process of designing and building his own pine coffin enabled him to find... Read More
This spring, I had the pleasure of having a bird’s eye view of nesting crows. Out of the 2nd story window of my neighborhood gym, I watched 4 crow chicks mature. The window was only about 2 feet from their amazingly constructed nest of branches. I watched the crows fly back and forth feeding those four hungry mouths. They grew so quickly! However, I knew the day would come when mom and dad would “encourage” them to fly. I am sure these chicks had no idea what was to come!
Sure enough, I came back one day and they were all gone. I imagined that Mom or Dad “nudged” (aka pushed)... Read More
Do you wake up feeling tired? Do you check your work email before you get out of bed? Do you work at your desk during lunch? Do you run from meeting to meeting without a moment in between? Do you wonder if you can ever keep up with all of your work email?
(Gee, some days that sounds like me!)
An article in The New York Times (February 9, 2013, “Relax! You’ll be more productive” by Tony Schwartz) cites some interesting research that demonstrates that taking more time to relax and recharge actually increases productivity and work efficiency.
It’s easy to think that... Read More
In early June, kids and adults are counting the days to summer vacation. School is so demanding! Not just for kids, but for their parents too. In my day, parents had very little to do with their children’s homework. But today, educators expect parents to be involved and engaged in both coaching children when it comes to homework and making sure that they do it! This can require significant time and effort for Moms and Dads, particularly for the parent that is the designated homework helper. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
So both parents and their children are looking... Read More
The other day I was waiting in line with my wife at the airport. I leaned over and gave her a kiss. “I’m not in the mood” she growled. I laughed and reminded her that she should feel fortunate that her partner of 40 years still wants to give her a kiss for no special reason! She smiled and gave me a big hug. Do you ever feel taken for granted? Unappreciated? I think we all do, from time to time. Modern life is so busy—work, kids, commuting, dropping someone off and picking up someone else, bills, yard, the messy garage, laundry, laundry and more laundry. Hey! What about the dishes? It can... Read More