I’m a man in my late 40’s, married, with a son in high school and daughter in middle school. I love and am devoted to my family.
I work two demanding jobs to provide them with a decent home, and some extras which I believe are necessary for their emotional and physical health - sports activities, some music education, exploring both our complex city and Nature outdoors.
My wife, also late-40s, is, in my view, more beautiful and interesting than ever. She’s fit and active, works part-time, and creates crafts for pleasure.
We have very different backgrounds – upbringing, religion, race, you name it. Our relationship is sometimes strained by these differences, mostly when we disagree on something.
Usually it turns out to be small stuff compared to our commitment to work it out (or just drop it).
What’s my problem? I worry about the years ahead. Call it climate change or whatever, there are obvious, growing and damaging threats to the environment. Politics is increasingly divided to the point of extremes. It’s hard to separate facts from bias and scare stories.
Greed seems to dominate the decisions of all major companies that affect our lives and influence even government’s policies.
Sometimes I feel that all my efforts to raise strong, intelligent kids who can handle all these major changes, are useless.
How do I deal with these personal feelings without passing fear and pessimism onto my children?
One Man’s View
Like the ship’s captain in movies sometimes say, “Steady as she goes.”
You and your wife co-captain your “family ship,” and you need to keep it steady, and on the wise course that you’ve already set to enhance your children’s emotional and physical health.
But it won’t get the desired results if you sink into depression over fears for the future.
Your children’s generation will face many of the changes you mention, and others you and I still don’t know about.
They’re already growing up with more awareness of challenges ahead than you realize, given immediate access to world-wide events on their smart phones, and whatever other technology they see/hear/explore.
That’s why they need their parents to be informed, and aware of at least several sides to controversial events and ideas.
When major events occur – e.g. a health threat as with the coronavirus epidemic – you and your wife need to discuss with the kids what you know to be true – such as how the virus is passed, and when preventative masks are needed, and when they’re not.
And since children often hear false information along with mean taunts, example: the issue of racism against Asians that arose because the virus first appeared in China, also needs to be discussed.
Your kids need to be confident that they can turn to you for the right information, when they hear the inevitable scare stories.
BUT, if your own fears interfere with your ability to distinguish between realistic, immediate calls for action vs. needing to learn more about growing trends, suggested new policies, etc., it’s time for counselling.
And if depression persists, see your doctor.
Addressing your fears and seeking help against the negativity they create, will strengthen your ability to guide and lead your still-young children through whatever difficulties they may face.
Your support and your actions in the present is what they’ll fall back on when they are adults dealing with complex issues and problems requiring them to get informed and act.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who initiated sex, but then felt “used” (February 1):
Reader – “As if she didn’t get what she wanted! Instead of saying she wanted a relationship, she simply offered him her body!
“SHE manipulated, by inviting him in on a pretext and then undressing.
“HIS behaviour had already showed her his interest was mainly as a friend, and she’d pretty much understood it. But she decided to “test” him in hopes that…etc.
“Why didn’t she simply say “I have feelings for you. Would you like to stay the night? Direct and honest; they’re adults! Why is she playing games to “test” him instead of being honest?”
Ellie – You’re correct – she’s the one who initiated, and he complied. It’s the fact of never calling again that wasn’t what decent adults do, especially if they’re “friends.”
He texted her daily for six weeks, took her out five times… he, too, should’ve been forthcoming about his feelings. Mutually bad behaviour.
Tip of the day:
Children need their parents to discuss, age-appropriately, the issues of the day with them, to build informed awareness and combat fears.