A letter to my grandchildren: Part One – Love

I have decided to write some thoughts for my grandchildren over time. This is the first.

to-my-grandchildren

I think that I have lived long enough to share some things that I have learned in my life. As we grow and age we learn from everything we have been through. We probably learn the most from our mistakes.

LOVE

As I write this only one of you is married but I want all of you to take this to heart. Love and living together is a tricky thing. We are joined to another person whose upbringing and life experiences are different from ours. They have had good and bad in their lives and some things will trigger memories that will translate into actions and reactions. The same is true of you.

The things we have been through in our lives can cause us to react in ways that don’t actually fit the current situation. It happens because that memory has left scars that hurt when exposed. Think about how hearing a certain song can take you back to the memory you have of that moment. For a brief time we are back there experiencing those feelings. Another description might be that we have recorded certain events with their feelings attached and they will pop up when triggered.

When there is a reaction to something said or done that surprises or hurts you see if you can discover what is behind it. You may be angry but let that go. If you can spend the time to discover what is underneath your significant other’s or your action you may be able to understand and accept it. This is not easy in the heat of argument or upset but it can save so much pain in the long run.

As an example, someone in pain may be negative about everything. This may not be normal for them but they can’t help it at the moment.

There will be days when you may question your love for another. This culture has taught you that love is a feeling. That is NOT TRUE. Love is a decision. Never ever forget that. That excitement that you felt when you were first together may come and go through your relationship. Time spent on your relationship can help to keep that feeling in your love….but not every day, every moment. It can come and go. That does not mean that the love is gone.

Being with someone long term is work. And it is worth it. Today people jump from one person to another looking for something that they may never find….wanting to hold on to that passion and excitement…..like cows reaching under the fence to get the grass on the other side. The problem is it will not be better forever.

Beautiful-Love-Caring-Thoughts-Love-Quotes-Images-Wallpapers-Pictures

Each morning you need to make the decision to love that person and then act on it. Having been married for 56 years I can tell you it is worth it.

(Obviously, there are exceptions to this. There can be truly bad relationships that need to be ended but I think today we are too quick to run away.)

For further thought this is part of the Greek’s description of long standing love:

  1. Pragma, or longstanding love                                                                                                           …..described it as a mature, realistic love that is commonly found amongst long-established couples. Pragma is about making compromises to help the relationship work over time, and showing patience and tolerance.

The psychoanalyst Erich Fromm said that we expend too much energy on “falling in love” and need to learn more how to “stand in love.” Pragma is precisely about standing in love—making an effort to give love rather than just receive it. With about a third of first marriages in the U.S. ending through divorce or separation in the first 10 years, we should surely think about bringing a serious dose of pragma into our relationships.

from: https://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/the-ancient-greeks-6-words-for-love-and-why-knowing-them-can-change-your-life

 

 

Do children feel secure?

Today at lunch with friends we were told about a family who lost a 10 year old son to suicide. He shot himself in the head. Later the family lost another son to drugs. This is a loving family and their relatives say there was nothing wrong with their childhood. The younger child was bullied and I don’t think the other son ever got over his brother’s death.

media

It scares me that suicides are occurring in such young children. It’s hard to know why. I know that our exposure to so much data may be part of the answer. A child growing up when there was no media would probably never know anyone who committed suicide and certainly would not be bullied on line. There was some bullying in school when I was a child but it was nipped in the bud by the teachers. This was also the era when parents believed the teacher and usually there was some sort of punishment to follow for the child. Things have really changed.

Now we are so exposed to all the terrible events around the world that to take a gun and shoot oneself or someone else is not unusual. Exposure desensitizes us.

There is so much anxiety and depression in children. I have mentioned that I see it as being related to parenting in such a way that children do not have a safe base….a place where there are rules and secure love. Children need limits. No limits is a scary thing. It means that no one cares what you do. No one loves you enough to set limits for you.

safe child

I can see some changes in parenting recently and I hope that the changes are for the better. I so want to see children grow up loved and secure.

How are the children?

family-counseling-main-58a72ddc45d4aSchool is starting here and it has made me think about children. I have a great concern about the children of today. They have so much to overcome. I haven’t read the statistics lately but I wonder how many of them come from homes with divorce or unmarried parents or any home that feels unsteady. The climate today is ok with there being children and no marriage.  I certainly don’t condemn the people who choose to live this way but I do question how it is for the children. Marriage doesn’t necessarily help to keep people together but there may be more incentive to think harder about the decision to separate.

To get to the point I am worried for children who grow up in uncertainty. I don’t know that so many of us did in the past. Children need a base. They need a place of safety. Somewhere that feels rock solid. It doesn’t have to be a place….it can be a relationship. That place of safety allows a child to reach outside of that circle without fear. We all need some place to stand anchored.

relationshipsWhen parents have little commitment to each other and no incentive to stay together that place of security is threatened. Children need to know that there is a safe place in their world.  This doesn’t mean that it can’t be found in the new ways of living but I co think it is harder and may have to be more intentional.Without a safe stand they may seek it elsewhere and it may not be someplace that is really safe.

This has been difficult to put into words that aptly explain what children need. I hope I have, at least, gotten my thoughts across.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love for a lifetime

relationRelationships seem to be a big topic lately. I can understand why. Relationships in today’s culture are really tricky. I’m not sure that any of us understand. Whether it was good or not when I was concerned with discovering someone to become part of my life it seemed simpler. People were expected to get married. Some marriages did badly but it seemed that many did well. I think that marriage was considered a commitment. You were assuming that you were planning a lifetime together. Divorce was available but I don’t think people took it lightly.

The other factor is that the sexual revolution hadn’t happened. No birth control pills so pregnancy was much more of a risk. Society frowned on pregnancy without marriage and it made deciding to raise a child alone meant you could be a pariah.

These things made marriage a more serious undertaking but of course that didn’t make it easier. Some people stayed married when they should have been divorced. Many stayed with their children in mind for good or ill.

love lifetimeI think that relationships today are much more difficult. Choosing to split is taken more lightly. I think many times people split rather than doing the work required to make a good marriage. How do people approach commitment? Does a relationship begin with at least one party thinking “let’s try this out and see if it works?” There may not be many long term partnerships like the one that my husband and I have.

A while ago I posted a blog about different kinds of love. It was called “Commitment, why? I found that the Greeks actually had more divisions of love than I previously thought. They have a definition of the kind of love that lasts through all the storms and trials. It is called pragma and here is the description.

  1. Pragma –Another Greek love was the mature love known as pragma. This was the deep understanding that developed between long-married couples. Pragma was about making compromises to help the relationship work over time, and showing patience and tolerance.The psychoanalyst Erich Fromm said that we expend too much energy on “falling in love” and need to learn more how to “stand in love.” Pragma is precisely about standing in love—making an effort to give love rather than just receive it. With about a third of first marriages in the U.S. ending through divorce or separation in the first 10 years, the Greeks would surely think we should bring a serious dose of pragma into our relationships.

nelson mandelaI worry about people trying to find a fulfilling relationship. There is so much uncertainty involved and I truly believe children suffer when they grow in a environment of uncertainty. They need solid ground to hold on to. The world is a scary place and we all need someone to depend on. Someone who we can trust with our life. Not just our physical life but physical, mental, emotional, and psychological being. We don’t just find someone who can be this but we both grow into it over years of companionship. God willing that you too can have this.

Age is a gift

lit windowI live in a neighborhood where it is fun to walk the dogs and just appreciate the overhanging trees, the green lawns and nature in general. Sometimes I walk in the evening and people are turning on the lights in their houses. I am not a voyeur but I do like seeing people living their lives, maybe in a kitchen, a living room, wherever. I  think about what their life is like…if they are happy or sad, healthy or not, satisfied with where they are.

This little glimpse into someone else’s life reminds me to consider my own. As I walk I think about the blessing and challenges I face. I conjure up memories from the past and think about how my life flowed along. It is time for reflection and consideration.

Yes, I have fought the demon of anxiety attached to IBSD, Yes, I have had moments of regret when I didn’t live up to my ideals. Yes, I have good times and bad. However, on the whole my life has been blessed. I have grownup children who are able to live their own lives. I have grandchildren. some have already left the nest, some are on the way. I have one great grandchild who is almost 2 months old. What more can I hope for?

share wisdomNow it is up to me to use the knowledge and wisdom gained from this lifetime to share what I can to help someone else along the road. I will be a good listener, a good friend, a caring adviser and try to love as Christ has called me to do. That is what this time of life is for. It is not for sitting in a chair in front of the TV and vegetating. That is not why God granted me this time.

I think that when we contemplate getting older we need to consider why we have been granted this gift and try to share as much as we can.

Where has the family gone?

My oldest daughter called this morning on her way to work. She works at a major Children’s Hospital as a nurse case manager. She see some of the most critical and heart wrenching cases. In the past she worked at another unit that was an adolescent med-psych unit so she has experience with psych.

suicide

Today she was distressed that a short while ago her bosses son overdosed and died. They don’t know if it was suicide or an accident. Then she learned that a friend’s child committed suicide. This morning she was distressed that she is seeing so many cases of young adults and teens in crisis. Like the rest of us she has no idea why this is happening but is terrible concerned about the culture that is creating mental distress in the young.

It seems that both of these cases were a total surprise and not the result of known mental health issues. Of course she realizes that the problem could have been there unrecognized but in these two cases it seems not.

Recently several blogs that I read have talked about the current TV series 13 Reasons. The blogs have been very negative about the value of this program and its influence. I have not watched it….I watched a brief piece and the premise turned me off so I quit. The blogs seem to feel that this show has a bad influence on young people and the blogs were written by people close to the age.

good family

There are so many problems with the structure of the family today that it is easy for me to see why children are stressed. In some cases the children run the family and the adults take second place. When this happens children don’t feel safe. There is no strong adult influence. Parents must be parents.

In other cases the family is so busy with outside activities that there is no family time. They don’t eat together or take time to talk and share. Children need structure and down time with their family to feel connected.

Like my daughter I am equally concerned about the pattern we are seeing in children and young adults. I pray that some change will come about that re-centers the family group and gives children security and grounding.

Raising children to become anxious and prone to violence and suicide is a plague upon our society.

Raising children

raising-a-child

I was 23 years old when I had my first child. Certainly old enough but young enough to be naive too. To be honest I was never around children. As an only child I spent most of my time with adults. I thought that having children would be a breeze. WOW was I wrong. I suppose the only thing that saved me was the fact that I have wonderful examples in my parents and am still married to a man who is a wonderful father.

None of us is perfect and we all make mistakes raising out children. We just have to pray that the mistakes aren’t life altering. My children’s early years were spent while we were in the Army. Lots of moves and new people to get to know. They seemed to survive that.

By the time they were in their teens we were settled and they got to stay in the same schools. All children are different and mine certainly are. Thank God they are all gainfully employed, have children of their own, and survived us as parents. I don’t know if we managed as well. There was lots of anxiety and nail biting but here we are.

We won’t talk about finding out a few years ago about my son and his friends riding bikes off the roof of the house into the swimming pool. Glad I didn’t know about that.  We lived through the time my oldest daughter dove into the pool and hit her head and survived. There was also the time my youngest daughter was on the way to Japan as an exchange student and left her ticket at home. (before all these electronics) She did get to Japan.

parent

Many things that happen in the lives of children are fun to remember later. Some are not so fun. Parenting is a full time job. Most parents love their children and have their best interests at heart. Never doubt that it is a hard but rewarding job.