"My daughter's all grown up now so doesn't need me," said my friend about her recent move out of her daughter's home to an independent retirement community.
It was an attitude I had heard from parents before, but one I have never agreed with.
By it's very definition, the word "need" indicates a lack of something. A lack could mean a variety of things like a lack of wisdom, understanding, direction. While children are undeveloped and need the guidance and provision of their parents, is it really true or even possible that adult children stop needing this once they become adults?
I have never been a birth mother so I can't say that I have experience in this area. The closest I have come to this was a 20+ year commitment as a Big Sister to a little girl named Marie from the Big Sister's program. I can say Marie's needs definitely changed as she grew older, but I can't say she stopped needing me altogether.
I couldn't help thinking of my own mother. Had I stopped needing her? I can say with certaintly that my need for my mother has definitely changed. I don't have the same childhood needs for guidance for becoming an adult. I don't need her guidance now on how to handle the teen years, the young adult years as I did in the past. I also don't need guidance now on dealing with my first job, my first date, my first marriage. That was the past. This is now.
But as an adult, weren't there still issues that I could draw on from my mother's vast experience, wisdom and knowledge? Didn't she still have a depth and wealth of wisdom that I could benefit from? Hadn't she been down paths and learned things from her choices that she could still impart to me?
Or had I just outgrown my mother as my friend seemed to suggest about her own daughter and now it was all up to me to figure things out. The thought seemed ludicrous and grieved me.
Too often I had seen the elderly shoved aside and "put out to pasture" as if they were of no use to anyone anymore. Their thoughts, their life paths were looked on as "out of touch" as if they didn't matter.
Yet my experience in living with and caring for my 93 year old mother as well as living in a retirement community has proved far different. I have found it to be a generation that still holds Godly values near and dear to them. They honor God in their marriages, in their families. They have a commitment to one another to hold fast despite the hard times, unlike the fragile, shallow relationships of today. Is it any wonder that I find a number of them married 60+ years?
They are strong. When they get sick, they don't usually whine or complain and cry "why me?" They do what they need to do to get better and carry on. Is it any wonder that so many are living to be in their 90's?
They have been through alot. They went through the Great Depression and learned how to hold onto a buck. You won't find them maxing out their credit cards and going into bankruptcy numerous times without the blink of an eye.
They went through numerous war times, when men were proud to serve their country to fight for our freedom. It was an honor they didn't shirk from or try to figure out ways to avoid it. Some paid with their life, some disabled for life.
They worked long and hard, proud to put in a good days work. They weren't looking for a handout, for unemployment, a way to stay home and collect a check.
Now you tell me. Have we adult children really outgrown our need for this generation?
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