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Lessons from our elders

“I’m 87 years old, and when I was a child, men worked, women kept house and we children were left to our own devices. We built kites from sticks, newspapers and string; scooters from a piece of 2-by-4 and old roller- skate wheels; stilts from leftover lumber. We played hide and seek, Come My Good Sheep, Red Rover, marbles and jacks. We played baseball and football with our own rules and changed them if we wanted to. And what happened to us? We grew up to be the Greatest Generation!”
Harold Ducket Wisconsin, “Inbox,” TIME magazine, December 14, 2009
I have never met Harold. I also did not read the article he was responding to from a previous issue. That article, written by Nancy Gibbs, discussed the phenomenon (and much-debated) topic of overparenting. I have witnessed what I would refer to as overparenting in restaurants, grocery stores, sporting events, shopping malls, and even cars I may be next to in traffic.
For me, this 21st-century word describes parents who have taken away the privilege and responsibility of their children making—and living with the consequences of—their own decisions. It is true that the immature brain lacks good judgment about certain things, like needing to rest midday or not overeating sweets during the holidays. Yet, the whole notion of empowerment is about making informed decisions based on our preferences and life experience. Even a 6-year-old has a frame of reference for right and wrong, following the conventions of good manners, respecting elders, and living with everyday choices, such as wearing mittens (or not) in the snow.
In the later decades of life, older adults have stories and life lessons to share that can provide in-sight and practical advice. These suggestions can touch on the daily choices as well as the more important decisions facing us. Touchmark is committed to honoring, respecting, and enriching the lives of residents, families, team members, and guests in structured and spontaneous programs and activities that support the legacy of our elders. To find out more about the Lifelong Learning opportunities at Touchmark, contact any member of our Life Enrichment/Wellness team or a resident Friendship Ambassador.