Well, there’s a lot to smile about: the Easter Sunday rescue of Merchant Marine Captain Richard Phillips, for one. Likewise for Susan Boyle’s substance-over-style triumph. Except the omission of family elders persists. All we heard before Phillips’ miraculous rescue was about his wife, son and daughter’s agonizing five-day wait. Little was said about Boyle’s sickness and health, till death-do-us-part devotion to her mother and father. And, oh, dear Susan, include some family love songs in your repertoire, like, “My Mother’s Eyes” and “Oh, My Papa!” and get everyone singing!
The first I knew of Phillips’ mother was seeing her move slowly up the airplane ramp after her daughter-in-law, grandson and granddaughter had bounded up for a joyful reunion with her son. Grandson helped her descend the ramp and held her arm as his sister and mother clung to either side of his dad.
But even the First Grandmother is invisible, unlike the First Dog, a most heralded household member. But a grandparent there? Hmmm, could start a most unfortunate trend. For example, when Oprah told the cast of the new sitcom In the Motherhood that, “Grandparents like the one in the White House could ease the child-raising woes you find so maddening,” the silence was deafening.
Want to join my Families Forever group? I’m serious. It’s also about “the familied” looking out for “the unfamilied.” As for lending a hand, I was so moved by a man who lent me his as I exited an M31 bus that stopped far from the curb. Lending a hand, crossing the street and toting a bag are three needed trends because elders don’t often ask for help. We’ve been taught to say we’re fine when we’re not. Speaking of needed changes.
But according to a local hospital seminar aimed at 65-plussers, the need is to “Wake up your sexual self!” Once this same hospital stressed close family and friend social support as not only the key to healing illness, but to preventing it.
The April 19 New York Times front-page photo was titled, “Feeling Secure Enough to Sin, Baghdad Returns to Its Old Ways,” of prostitution, drinking, gambling and cock-fights. And the lead Styles section story “Recklessly Seeking Sex on Craigslist” doesn’t seem to find this search method so unnatural—just be careful or you could get yourself hurt and worse.
Maybe features on relationships that nurture the human condition are few and far between because then these “reckless” pursuits might not be sought. Caring communication skills exist, but the opposite is often “taught” by primary educators, entertainment, arts and the Internet. Even conflict resolution gets short shrift in strife-filled schools.
It’s not global warming I fear so much as the artificial and heedless “hotting it up” of contemporary culture; the lust of the senses, extreme dancing, dress, entertainment, sports, language—even the obsession with food is over the top.
But non-toxic light bulbs that physically and visually enhance the human condition are about to be banned, and we must ride in non-crash-resistant light-weight vehicles with no reduction in speed.
“Where there is no vision the people perish”—and never has there seemed to be such an overall lack of it.
But surely not when it comes to remembering mama, yours and mine, and also mothers-in-law like mine and Marion Anderson (mother of Michelle Obama) and Virginia Phillips (mother of Captain Phillips).
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