Today is November 28, 2023 /
I direct Ayeka’s Becoming a Soulful Parent program. I have three kids. And I spend a lot of time with them. But I actually don’t really read many parenting books. What is drawing me in right now is reading about aging. I can’t get enough of it. I am halfway through Atul Gawande’s, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. Maybe it’s because, in the end, we are all going to grow old. Maybe it’s because when I only focus on my children (and my role in growing the coming generation), I (subconsciously) am in denial of the fact that I will one day grow old. And maybe it’s in order to understand the life-stage of my parents and grandmother. The book chronicles the history and evolution of elder care facilities and asks big questions about how we can live meaningful lives, up until the end. One piece that struck me in the book is the deep human need to be needed. (My sister once shared that so many of us pine for the day that our newborns learn to call our names, ‘mama’/ ‘papa’. Our heart fills. And then… our children never stop!) As a mother I am quite needed, and crave not being so needed (maybe no-one will notice if I take off for a month 🙂 But when I think about it, I know that this is a function of this particular time in my life when all three kids are at home. Soon, I will long to be needed. And how much more-so for older adults. Gawande reflects on the idea that we all need to feel connected to a cause that is beyond ourselves, beyond our physical needs (clothing, food and safety.) To be of service to that cause enriches us and gives our lives more meaning. Reading the book is helping me gain a newfound appreciation and meaning to my life as a parent who is very much in service to each family member and a desire to help elders know they are needed too.