May 9th is "Tough Talk Day' when adult children and their parents are encouraged to discuss the tough issues they try to avoid, ignore or forget.
The early relationship between parent and child is strong and personal, full of memories of family trips, birthday parties, school assemblies, with feelings of confusion, pride, disappointment and love.
There were expectations and roles for parents: comforter, worrier and enforcer and for children: challenger, helper, explorer. (And when they could finally drive, delivery boy, "Andrew could you go to the store and get some eggs?") You find advice about this stage of the child-parent relationship everywhere: magazines, books, and parenting classes.
But then the relationship changes. The baby grows up, leaves home, starts a career and finds others to love; the parent gradually becomes less active and more dependent. And now the adult child becomes the worrier, the comforter, the enforcer.
The relationship turns upside down and inside out and whether you are the child or parent you are in unknown territory with few guideposts. How do you learn to navigate this new terrain?
How do adult children wanting to protect their parents (and everyone else on the road) ask them – or tell them - to put away the car keys and sell the car? And thereby giving up a big piece of their independence and accelerating their path towards greater dependency.
How do older parents having accepted their own mortality start a conversation about their eventual death with their adult children who have unresolved issues about life and death and don't even want to talk about the subject?
These are difficult conversations - tough talk - but they need to occur.
To provide some understanding and guidance, Lee Paton will once again be the speaker for our "Tough Talk Workshop" on May 9th from 9 - 12 at the Center. As a respected gerontologist who has spoken around the world, she will share her insightful perspective on aging and give you the courage to begin and even embrace these conversations.
As a preface to the Tough Talk Workshop, Lucille Torgerson will facilitate another round of the "Let's Talk" series. To frame these discussions, Lucille will use Joan Chittister's book "The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully" a collection of inspirational reflections ("'Act your age' can be useful advice when you're seventeen; it's a mistake when you're seventy-seven.") on such topics as fear, mystery, regret, fulfillment, and success. This is an opportunity to share your stories and thoughts while learning from each other. Aging is such an individual experience but you find so much in common when you hear other's journeys. The "Let's Talk" discussions will be on Monday April 27, May 4 and May 11 from 10:45 - 12:00 and is open to anyone and everyone.
I have several folks on the line for next Tuesday’s lecture, but I just haven't reeled anyone in yet. When I determine the speaker, I will post it at the Center and on my blog at www.midcolumbiaseniorcenter.com.
At last week's Sadie Hawkins Dance, the dance floor was full of bodies bumping, sweat flying and eyes glistening with anticipation. And that was just the band members. Well maybe not, but there was good food, good music and a great time. Thanks again to Heart of Gold Caregivers and Mill Creek Point for sponsoring the dance. For April, Boyd Jacobson has lined up some of our most popular performers: Cherry Park Band playing tonight, Truman Boler next Tuesday and on the 21st the Sugar Daddies. The music and dancing always starts at 7:00, is free although donations are appreciated and is open to all ages.
Finally a weekend when it felt like spring. It was about time. Until we meet again, open up like a flower in bloom and express yourself. And don’t worry, we’ll tell you when to shut up.
“Some people think it's holding on that makes one strong. Sometimes it's letting go.” S. Robinson
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