By Emily Rosen
This is about mothers and sons, and aging and mental health, and who knows what else. Sometimes stuff comes up when I write a column and I get surprised at how it ends.
Today, I received the following email from my son, who is very edgy as he approaches his 60th birthday this month. In the subject line, he wrote, “For Your Next Column.” How fortuitous! In his usual cryptic tone, he wrote, “The concept of ‘How could this come back to haunt me in the future’ only seems to come with age.”
And in my very cryptic tone, I responded, “What are you talking about?”
To which he responded, “When you’re young, you don’t think of the consequences of your actions.”
Well, duh! Did he think he discovered the origin of life?
There followed some reminders to him of his youthful follies, and a subtle vague response which led me to believe that he actually did not want to follow that path. Why then, did he bring it up? Perhaps, his Peter Pan persona is faltering as he faces the reality of actually coming face-to-face with being twice the age of the hippie slogan “Never trust anyone over the age of 30”.
You might remember from your history books, or from real life, what it was like to live during my son’s “coming of age” – in the turbulent 1960s – the burgeoning of Rock & Roll, the explosion of the drug culture, Woodstock, Vietnam protests, civil rights upheavals, political and racial assassinations, convention riots, all of which make today’s political porridge seem tame by comparison (so far). And so, we never went much further than his musing about youthful poor judgment (a mild description of the blatant behaviors of his and too many other kids of that era.)
But time slogs on at its sure-fire pace – slow or speedy depending on your vantage point, and there are different, though, in some ways, similar, triggers fueling the behavior of young people today. The major difference, however, is that everything they do is indelibly recorded for eternity – and, sure as shootin’, they are not thinking that some of it ‘will come back to haunt me’.
All of which makes my participation in the support group called My Generation held at the Faulk Center For Counseling in Boca Raton (www.faulkcenterforcounseling.org) such an enlightening experience. With a mix of high school teenagers and older adults sharing their stories, and many of their now extinct (adults) or current (kids) customs, experiences and relationships, the interaction results in a greater understanding and acceptance of each other, and provides an educational and emotional high for each age group.
And, since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, this is a reminder that physical health is dependent on mental health, and that society needs to recognize and respond with equal drive to the concerns of each.
Since Mother’s Day is upon us, another reminder, that mothering (indeed, parenting) is the most important job any of us have, and as the stimuli around us become ever more potent, the job becomes ever more difficult and more demanding of attention. So, let’s hear it for the moms, as well as the kids who actually consider the consequences of their actions – now or whenever.