Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pondering the Onset of the Empty Nest Part I: The Nursing Home Choice

The reality of the upcoming empty nest became a reality this afternoon.  This is the last time I will cook for a Super Bowl party while one of my boys is in high school.  I suppose there will be several more “lasts” before the graduation ceremony on May of this year.   As I reflect on the onset of the empty nest, several thoughts come to mind.  But there is one that is recurring.  Which son will be entrusted with choosing the nursing home where I will someday reside?

If their mother is also in need of such a facility with me at the same time, I have no worries.  They will make sure that “Saint Mother” lives in a palace with the best of care.  We will eat on china and drink from the finest crystal.  I know my boys.  Only the finest for their mother…   I will be a fortunate man.   But if “Saint Mother” is not in in need of nursing home care, then I need to be careful.

Should I allow Randall to make that choice?  No.  That is not a wise choice. Randall will negotiate a deal with the nursing home facility where they pay him to take care of me.  I know it sounds odd, but Randall is fully capable of pulling that off.  Somehow I don’t think I will come out well on that deal.

What about Daniel?  Could he make the choice?  No.  Daniel is frugal.   No…Daniel is tight with his money.  He will find the cheapest place known to mankind to house his poor father.  Allowing Daniel that responsibility would be a disaster for me.

And then there is Mitchell…. Could he make that choice?  Yes.  Mitchell possesses two important future nursing home qualities for good ole dad.   He likes to spend more than save.  In this case, that is good. And he has a very tender heart.  Even for ole dad.

Now the other boys will factor into my life in an important way.  Once the choice of a nursing home palace is made for me Daniel will manage my money, so Mitchell will have it to pay the facility of his choice.  And then of course there are people that take advantage of poor old people. They will only do that once if Randall is around.   I will need Randall to protect me from such unscrupulous individuals.  By the time he gets done with them, even the best con artist will be so confused he won’t know what hit him.

I am grateful for each of my boys. They are so different from each other.  But they are all gifted. And if the truth be known they will take care of me in the same grand manner as Saint Mother.  How can you not adore kids that hold their mother in such high esteem?  The empty nest is coming, so I will continue to ponder things like my future nursing home. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Walking Wounded are Easy Targets

The walking wounded are easy targets.   If you want to communicate your prejudices, or just be downright hateful, you won’t miss the mark if you find someone who is already struggling with life. They are perfect targets for negative messages, caustic comments, and sarcastic humor.  Believe me your message will not go unheeded.  You will hit the target without a doubt. There is no need to wait around for a damage report.   You will successfully crush the person that is on the receiving end of your verbal darts.

The walking wounded are easy targets.   But most people are not intentionally hurtful with their words.  I think…  As a general rule, most people don’t get up in the morning with the intent of being purposely mean to another person.  We don’t want others to be hurt by our humor either. But it happens.

The walking wounded are easy targets.  But I did not know he was struggling?  I was not aware that her husband left her.  I did not know that he was recently diagnosed with cancer.  And I was not aware that she grew up being abused for years…. We are quick to speak to and about people in all kinds of negative ways, but we know so little of their story…

The walking wounded are easy targets.   I observed three such individuals get shot down with careless words this past week.  The scenarios fell into three different categories.

·         Hurtful Humor:  If another person is hurt by our humor, then it is not funny.  It is that simple. I saw an example this week of someone using humor to get a point across.  But the only thing he accomplished was to burn a relational bridge.  His words were not funny. They were hurtful.

·         Confidence Killers: When it comes to those that are younger than me, I had better be the person that is building them up.  I had better be a confidence builder.  It is my duty.  But this week I observed someone affected by a potential confidence killer. The words were not helpful.

·         Misplaced Words: Sometimes we just don’t think before we speak.  And our words tear down instead of building up.  I observed that this week too.

The walking wounded are easy targets.  They are already hurting.  They have full emotional plates.  And someone comes along and hits the bulls-eye again.  I suggest we work at being more purposed in our communication.  Be quick to listen and slow to speak.  Think through our words carefully.  In fact, why not think first and then speak?  Be purposed in building others up.   Consider the implications of our humor.  The fact is…most of us can be characterized as the walking wounded.