Marie’s 75-year-old husband was losing his memory. At first, he forgot small things. But over time, it progressed to larger, more significant memory problems. He became disoriented and would get lost. A trip to the neurologist brought a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Marie and her family were devastated. But Marie had the hardest job. Day in and day out she took care of her husband who became increasingly disabled. Marie was exhausted and depressed. Not only was she losing the husband she loved and knew, her daily responsibilities of coping with his disability were overwhelming. She felt alone... Read More
You are here
Family Talk Blog
As a 65-year-old, I’m no stranger to the distressing world and national news. Goodness knows I’ve lived through a great deal of volcanic change in my lifetime, sad as well as terrifying moments, and several periods of uncertainty. Many of these stick in my head—the day Kennedy was assassinated, Martin Luther King’s murder, the Cuban missile crisis, the years of the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, and numerous new presidents coming into office. I have also witnessed amazing upheaval too—the end of apartheid in South Africa, the fall of the Soviet Union, the tumbling down of the... Read More
Mary was furious with her husband. She wanted him to make the arrangements for their next night out. Last year they both made the decision that a twice monthly “date” was important for maintaining their relationship in the midst of their helter-skelter family life. They did a lot together as a family—Mary, Joe and their two boys, ages 8 and 10. But wisely, they both realized that it’s easy to feel neglected or taken for granted by their spouse. Time together, without the kids, is important for maintaining their marriage and staying connected.
They were pretty good about putting... Read More
Meet the Smiths, a typical American family. Just married, John and Mary have four children. Sally 14, Joe, 15, are John’s. David, 10, and Makenzie, 12, are Mary’s.
This new American family is a blend of mine, yours, and ours—brought to you by a significant divorce rate and a high remarriage rate. This hybrid is competing with the conventional “Ozzie and Harriet” family of yesteryear.
The natural life history of divorce and remarriage brings about new facts of family life. From the rubble of marital dissolution raises the single-parent family, often headed... Read More
Last week I took an early morning stroll. Spring is in the air—the cherry and apple trees are starting to blossom and the birds have returned, singing their spring song. The new season is upon us and everything is waking up.
This season of renewal also reminds us that we are always changing too. But what about us stays the same? On my walk, I recalled myself as a child, around 10 years old, at summer camp. As a boy, I was a keen observer of the adult world, although I didn’t understand what I saw. The adults in my life said I was mature for my age. Perhaps that’s what launched me... Read More
I recently read an inspirational book about joy by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It was based on a week-long visit between these two religious figures. Their dialogue stimulated my own thinking about this topic. Here are some of the highlights of the book—well worth considering in our everyday lives.1. “You are a masterpiece in the making"
According to the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu developing the capacity for compassion, generosity, and loving kindness are the basic ingredients for a joyful life. It’s not the pursuit of happiness that brings wellbeing and joy! But... Read More
On March 8th, I celebrated my Mother’s birthday, even though she passed away three years ago at the age of 91. Her birthday had become an important part of my life.
Some 20 years earlier, during a visit to Seattle from her home in Florida, my mother, a recent widow, took me aside and told me that she was disappointed in me for not properly acknowledging her birthday. At first I was surprised, but I thought about it, and I realized that she was right. Some of my indifference to her birthday was rooted in my early life experience, where I felt neglected by my mother. But, I reflected... Read More
I was talking to my daughter the other day, a one-month-old mom, who has just entered the new world of parenthood. Before becoming a parent, she felt pretty grown up. After all, she had a job, an apartment, and a partner. She felt pretty confident in herself.
Now she is a new mom. Everything’s changed on a dime.
I harkened back to my early days as a Dad. Coming into parenthood brings us into a new world that we never imagined. We face challenges that we’ve never experienced before. Our relationship with our partner changes and is never entirely the same again. Kids bring a... Read More
When I was a teenager, my father used to tell me—“I can’t wait for you to have kids! Then you will know what I am going through!” I hated when he said that. I loved to bait my dad, and he would react predictably. Now, in my adult shoes, worn for many years, I feel bad about how I treated him. But of course, at the time, I was just acting like teens do--practicing my debating and negotiating skills, and flexing my intellectual muscles that I would later use in adult life.
One of the many challenges of parental life is our inability to really remember what it’s like to be a kid. We do... Read More
Valentine’s day has come and gone, but hopefully, romance is here to stay.
This year, Diane and I have been married for 40 years! It’s hard to imagine that so much time has elapsed since we first met, in 1973, on the registration line in graduate school. Four decades is a lifetime of love, tears, joy, ups, downs, and everything in between. Like many other couples, we raised a family, made big geographic moves, argued about laundry and dirty dishes, struggled through health problems, our parent’s old age and deaths, had many lovely family vacations (and some not so great!), and... Read More