singin’ with the choir of all the US psychologists out there today

The American baby boomers’ [77 million 65 aged in 2011 (“Boomsday”) according to Newsweek magazine printed 2007] predecessors experienced extended economic depression, and war, much like this past decade we have again. As they gave birth to families, having little income, their children grew up with privileges of movies, diners, radios, tv’s, phones, ice cream socials, proms and classic car-cruising the boulevard. Those were the lucky ones. Such was localized in some of the Los Angeles area of California. If you want a context for this age, because you’re still too young to know of this era, check out the movie “Grease”. Mass consumption principles that guided the corporate culture that we still somewhat accept (with fast food on every corner), group think, calls to war, subsequent draft dodging, hippie movements (see “The Graduate”) and massive opposition to war and sexism/gender disrespect abound. Somewhere along the line… these “children” seem to have wound up in a time capsule, but read onward because I’m not bashing those of you boomers. The popular culture in media has suggested to male baby boomers that today they must be shrewd investors or punishers of other “spoiled” gen “X”-ers, gen “Y”-ers, (or younger) – no margin for anything in between; though somehow “they” still taught or teach their children “well”. Some boomers are today struggling to be able to live with the same austerity conditions that they imposed upon their children by default of political policies of the last decade or two. Consider also that the subsidies they expect out of retirement will not be there for boomers’ children, due to the fact that boomers have added more times of war and joblessness… an increase in rates few have been willing to admit to their children officially (all be it reluctantly) until now. Of course many of them are not so quick to condemn their children. These are the shining stars among the boomers and they should be wise to point out what they have done (both good and bad). I suppose somewhere around the late eighties (not to be exact) came business deals with China, followed by an onslaught of various military projects (global in size and scope), that threaten our fiduciary existence. It was all sustainable, (or so they thought). Does anyone have a conscience? I think so. But grandpa and grandma should step aside as new sheriffs are in town.
Recession and war might start now to show their silver lining. But I could be wrong. We could face Armageddon. Some of us, by age, are as divided as the Americans were during the Vietnam War. But, for many, this will finally be a time for healing, if the right choices are made. The price for this blessing is today’s austerity. What is my message here? That the smartest among the baby boomers, learned how to learn from their own kids, how to prepare for cataclysm. Those who resist, suffer. Those who panic, suffer.
Next point: The internet has changed everything. Some boomers have re-learned what their parents before knew quite well; that being careful with the money that you do have; that the economy give or gave you – without you having to invent some artificial product need (as is frequent today), means, realizing how to adapt and prepare yourself to trust your relations with your own children, before you waste it in blunders and stupidity. Many boomers are wise to realize that they can learn from their own 20-35’s and so forth in willing conversation. Some children are slow to learn, but they have inherent value like you do, and can in some way (or not) free themselves from serfdom, when the economy is no longer under duress (and sabotaged by ideology and/or imperialism). Face it folks, vote with your wallet in mind, not the rage in your heart. Boomer parents should have learned by now, how to allow their children to lead and offer advice of all kinds to them. A willingness to be open-minded and un-resentful, only encourages and fosters improvements in the relations, and the US economy ultimately (one would think and hope).
In some cases however, (in defense of frustrated and overburdened children singled out by society), some boomers are so set in their ways, that they have been too slow to recognize that the global and national economy is no longer in the hands they had clinched. They are too slow to pass the torch emotionally – they’re still trying to fix everything they botch up. These people don’t accept “defeat”. The exception among the group, are the many shining stars out there.
There’s a trend emerging: Boomer parents who go back to the work force because they are bored, want to support “kids” [children who are doing all they can despite bigger challenges than in all of modern history], or those boomers mentally still able to perform at the comparable or better aptitude of their children (competing with them for the jobs). Wait a second… who’s getting pay, and who’s having to spend to support wages of services and establishments that no one can afford singlehandedly?… hmmm. No room for double dipping. Own up, young and old alike!
Let’s be wise: in this hostile environment rife with inequity and challenge, let the weaker and unemployed count on support from their parents and grandparents. Boomers who are wise will recognize that their children are not happy about having to ask their boomer parents for money – probably visa-versa. But it does not have to be that way. I think it pains many boomer children to be dependent, but the reality is, that our boomer parents did set up a very difficult economy to navigate. Call what you will; the fact is that if you don’t have a retirement nest egg, or you are also burdened by an elderly parent, PLEASE go easy on your children… they are the only thing that can give you the emotional stability you need or will come to need. And that’s worth more than expert advice or money wasted on family therapists. Your “kids” might be able to help you with online banking, phone etiquette, corporate culture, email etiquette, redefined social mores and security know how (just to name a few things). “Boomers” who don’t know how to ask their kids questions, are of no use to themselves or anyone else. Unable to pass the torch, they can drag the adult child down with them and compromise national security.
“Entitlements” from the government are not guaranteed to American’s (by its own admission) regardless of age. So my advice is this: If you can afford to do for your children, or you can afford to do for your parents, regardless of what date you were born, DO IT (if they need). Don’t have unrealistic expectations of their skills, contributions, or luck in the marketplace. And don’t be greedy for knowledge from your children – purveying every issue of their lives. If your children ask you for your end of life plans and wishes, you may be blessed with that future, otherwise I will tell you what “Forest Gump” in the movie by the same name told you: “Life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what you gonna get.”
And finally, while it usually is a fallacy that you don’t know what kind of chocolate you’re eating, it could be, that when you wind up in the nursing home, unloved and unwanted (not really – but dramatic impact), because you never passed down anything of real value to your children whether in spirit and/or material, that the caregiver (paid 9.50 an hour), decides he is going to poison the chocolates that your kid gifted you at the nursing home of your choosing (because his output was never truly valued in pay). That would be a drag.
What goes around comes around I guess, so why not trust your kids with their tips and guidance on how to navigate the modern world while you still have time. That is, if you really are ready to truly pass the torch. If you cannot, then let them learn how to be appreciated by their counterparts – NOT you. In today’s world you must realize there is no one size fits all, in family therapy. The smart ones already have a big lead on you (you know who you are out there). Despite their setbacks, there will be huge successes that should make their boomer parent a proud parent. And if you are incapable of that, you do not know love, as you look for some sort of societal standard or norm. The norm does not exist anymore. That is the revolution and you are blind until you see this. Good luck with your children. Good luck with your selves. Peace. Now that there is a “new norm”, I have full confidence and expectation, that good will, going both ways, will be recognized, appreciated, and valued as we all move forward together in our USA. The blessings we shared and that we will share, will rise to the top of our memories and cognition until the day we all die.

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