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The Weekly Reader

paper chainA sampling of articles for M21 readers.

Circle of Care

As we enter our 50s and 60s and contemplate the future, the goal is usually to remain self-sufficient and not become a “burden” to our adult children, either financially or emotionally.

A fascinating Wall Street Journal essay,“Circle of Care,” questions that thinking. The writer, herself a baby boomer, asks:

In our zeal to prepare for a self-sufficient old age—with the goal of keeping our children free of the burden of our care, as our parents tried to do before us—do we give up, without a fight, the family-centric experience that was a consuming part of our lives? Will we miss the hands and faces of our children when we are safely lodged in senior establishments of our choice, outsourced to people we have never met before?

We professional parents threw ourselves into raising our children—and continue to help them in innumerable ways. Yet why are we so adamant that “We don’t need your help”?

The writer, Robbie Shell, explores whether there is a “middle ground” where we remain independent–and connected to our family–as long as possible but be willing to let our children help us too.  A thought-provoking piece.

My Mother’s Internet Date

On a humorous note, The Lives column in The New York Times Sunday magazine considers “My Mother’s Internet Date.”

What happens when a 63-year-old turn to her adult son for advice on writing a profile for an online dating service?  The author, visiting fellow in romance languages and literatures at Harvard, is forced to write—and translate—the exchanges between his mom and a potential date because

Her “computer skills” amounted to squinting at the screen and waiting for her e-mail to “turn on.”

The story ends happily with the son both helping his mom land a date, and offering her some advice on dating and men.  Indeed frightening scenario!

Digital Multitasking

Speaking of baby boomers and technology, a column by Perri Klass, M.D., on “Texting, Surfing and Studying?” looked at whether the under-30 generation can really multitask effectively.

Dr. Klass cites a recent article that found that “decreased productivity” when we baby boomers multitask.  Turns out we really can’t handle two important tasks at once with equal proficiency. But the younger generation is a different story.  Why?

She cites work Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington.   Although many of us feel comfortable with technology and weave it into our daily lives we are still “digital immigrants” in this new land.  However our children, especially the younger ones, been immersed in technology since birth so they are “digital natives.”

They feel right at home and acclimated; we’re still figuring out the local customs.  The result, Dr. Christakis says,

“We’re fairly clueless about the digital world they inhabit.”

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