This past Easter I was skiing with my younger son. As my middle-aged body gets sore from several hours on the slopes, I tend to indulge in the jacuzzi to ease some the aches I’ve earned each day.??? On this past Easter Sunday, I ended up sharing the communal jacuzzi at the condo complex with members of a family who shared some personal stories. For me, they were inspirational.
I met Bob (names all changed) who was single 30+ years after divorcing the mother of Sharon and Mark, the other two adults in the jacuzzi. Bob had been their stepfather for seven years, yet remained actively involved in their lives long after he and their mother divorced. Sharon felt so close to him that when she got married she invited both her biological father and Bob to walk her down the aisle. This irritated her biological father who had evidently not been much of a father during the years before and after Bob was in Sharon’s life.
The parents of every generation expect and hope that their children can and will do better than they did. Ours may be the first generation, in a very long while, where it is both unlikely and unrealistic to have this expectation. This scarier world has just gotten much more complicated, much harder, and more competitive. I reflected on this in a conversation with a friend, about how much easier we believed it was for us, as we were starting out in life.
It is inescapable that America’s pre-eminence in the world is changing. Whether it’s the devaluation of our dollar as the standard currency or other factors, it is clear that we are weakening as the world’s super-power. The fall-out from this translates to our industries, our economy, and the opportunities our children will have.
Raising kids, like many things in life, involves many factors but luck is a key factor. Raising kids takes a lot of luck. I’ve faced recent reminders about this when I attended the Bar Mitzvah of a young man with severe learning disabilities, whose parents had the poor luck that he had these problems. Or, the recent visit from my best friend who shared a conversation he just had with his wife in which they were each trying to figure out what they did wrong that resulted in their three adult children lacking any career focus in their lives. And, finally, the two men I know who are suffering the horrors of dealing with late teen or young adult drug addicts.
In the world of show business, to illustrate another world and example, do you really think the big stars in Hollywood are the most talented? While I love Jennifer Lopez and do indeed think she is quite talented, there was a certain degree of luck that they were making a movie about the life of Selena when J.Lo was just beginning her career. If her first movie had been a flop, would we be seeing her in every celebrity magazine?