MUSINGS DURING THE MORNING RITUAL
I’m a bit of an old-school traditionalist about some things. While my favorite baseball teams are in the American League, I still think the Designated Hitter is a bad idea that destroys many of the traditional strategies of The Great Game. More central to my daily life, I’m fairly certain the world would spin off its axis if my day didn’t start with coffee and reading a real, printed newspaper. In my case, two printed real newspapers; The Dallas Morning News and The Wall Street Journal. For me, both are best enjoyed out on the front porch in the company of my black lab, Malcolm, as the sun is rising. In this Texas heat, that’s also the only time it is bearable to be outdoors, particularly with steaming coffee.
This morning’s reading produced a profound “What the….?” experience when I read two articles that illustrate a shift in traditional American culture.
BOOMER GRANDPARENTS ARE THE NEW “SAFETY NET”
Both the Morning News and The Journal had articles discussing how aging boomer grandparents have become the “safety net” for their children and grandchildren. During these tough economic times, the children of boomers, who should have been launched long ago, are relying more upon their boomer generation moms and dads to keep them afloat. Job loss and unexpected medical expenses are cited as primary reasons.
ITS SERIOUS WHEN IT MAKES IT INTO THE DICTIONARY
A few pages over, both newspapers had their annual stories about new words in the English language that are being added to the next printing of dictionaries. I was pleased to see that “walk-off” had made it, as a “walk- off hit” or a “walk-off home run” have become two of my favorite events in baseball.
In a closely scored game, one batting event allows a batter’s team to “walk-off” the field following a game changing hit. The hero hitter is traditionally met at home plate by his celebrating teammates, and the outcome of the game is changed with just one swing of the bat. In my office, I have a bobble head of Texas Ranger Nelson Cruz modeled in a “walk-off” position. It is a reminder of how quickly life can change with perfect execution of a simple event.
Another new word being admitted to the dictionary is “boomerang”, not the Australian Aboriginal hunting tool, but the children of the boomer generation who keep moving back home to their parent’s place. To older people it gives a whole new meaning to terms like “assisted living”, “assisted living centers”, “assisted living housing”, “assisted living homes”, and “assisted living facilities” .
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST
Aging boomers are faced with their own challenges. Besides the fact they are aging, their personal retirement savings have largely evaporated over the past three years. Many are experiencing employment and health issues of their own. Now, they are also helping with the challenges their boomerang children face. This may demonstrate the generosity of the human spirit, but financial advisers recommend that seniors take care of their own retirement needs before supporting their adult children.
Traditionally, most western cultures divide generations as soon as the young ‘uns are grown. Economic necessity is now making generations more reliant upon each other. Parenting no longer ends with a “walk-off” once the children are old enough to be on their own.
We like to think our offspring will get their turn when it comes time to provide caregiving for their parents. Who knows?