How Much Insight Should One Generation Share With Another?

Posted: 8 years ago | By: Christine Somers | In: Our Aging Parents | Read Time: 2 minutes, 7 seconds

{24th Annual West Point Triathlon}

Yesterday Marty competed in the West Point Triathlon and I tagged along to take pictures and offer moral support. I go to his competitions because they are inspiring and fun to cheer on the athletes. As the groups began to line up for their starts, I saw a father and son saying their "goodbyes". The young man put out his hand to shake his father's hand and his father took his hand and pulled him for a hug. The young man and I made eye contact as his father was hugging him. The boy let his father hug him but his look said, "Daaaddd, not here. Not in front of the guys." I smiled my warmest grandmother smile trying to transmit telepathically the words, "It's okay. Everyone understands. You're cool." But by the very nature of being a grandmother, I can't bestow cool nor am I telepathic. 

There was more that I wanted to say to this young athlete. I wanted to say hug your dad, tell him how glad you are that he got up at 5:00 in the morning to come to the triathlon with you. You hug him and share you gratitude with him; tell him that you love him because one day this person who has been an anchor in your life won't be here. I wanted to implore him to remember and catalog each sight, sound and smell of the day. I was aware that these two men would have met this impassioned plea with stares and a slow backing away from the crazy women so I refrained. 

But it got me to thinking about how we pass on lessons learned in life to the next generation and how much can we responsibly share.  Isn't youth meant to be spent exploring and experiencing life not cataloging and reminiscing about past? I have written about the seasons of life before and how one generation may not be able to grasp the impact of the heart felt disclosures of the preceding generation's life lessons. One is in the spring of their life while the other is in the fall. You would miss the beauty of one season if you jumped to the next too quickly. In therapy, a psychologist is careful about revealing too much information before a client is ready to hear it. Do we do more harm when we remind others that life will be over quickly so pay attention and enjoy? Maybe we just need to say, enjoy.