“Thank you for sharing the story of your dear brother. What a powerful word of hope. One thing that often kept me and our fellow hospice team going was stories like yours. Somehow the universe helps prepare us for death and the power of dreams and visions can not be denied, in my experience. I hope that you find a special way to mark his memory this holiday season.”
“I know that I am a Christian minister who wrote the piece, but the research conducted for this project (this piece reports on one facet of the many findings) was done primarily by social scientists and ethicists and was not religion specific. (they spoke to all people of all faiths as well as nones--and their questions are more social scientist-y--if that's a word!--so they are looking at general categories of belief or practice. A sample question would be :Do you feel close to the divine? Do you attend a worship service? Do you give money to help others? Is your belief in God a comfort? Is there a purpose to the universe?
Anyhow--just wanted to assure that there was not, to my knowledge, any agenda in the research conducted. More descriptive and seeking to empower people to be prescriptive in whatever way the research inspires them to be. Thanks for reading!”
LA RAM on Jun 18, 2013 at 14:45:52
Thank you for writing this article. My answer to all of those questions would be yes. The twist for me is that my father was an agnostic. But I grew up with my maternal grandfather. He served as the true father figure and he would have answered yes to all of these questions above that you cite. Maybe that is why I do not follow the pattern in this research, or I would be an agnostic like my father.
And a very loving answer by you to Indygrl76, as well.
Indygrl76 on Jun 17, 2013 at 07:30:43
“Good morning Rev. Amy! I think you have missed my point a bit... I am, in fact, a Ph.D. in behavioral science and do know how survey research is done. I do not doubt the process. I doubt the premise for the research. The "questions" evaluate belief in utter myth. (Honestly, no offense intended.) There is no doubt that a majority of Americans believe in the myth. That will never make it true. My point is that "true" happiness will be had when the mind is emancipated from the expectations that a myth can genuinely help anyone beyond a placebo effect and that it is utterly a useless issue used to create conflict in an otherwise difficult situation. Clearly, religious issues are often just another source of conflict that is dumped on the children of divorcing parents and it is truly destructive and sad. To make it worse, this conflict is somehow given a special status because it is about “religion” which requires some sort of respect where other ideas and, in this case, parental assertions are evaluated on their merits. It is my view that children should not be indoctrinated into ANY worship myth even in they are free to "learn" about them. I think we can both agree that parents should stop using their children as pawns in their emotional struggles with their “ex” and that should include struggles over religious issues.”
“Great question--the research that went into this project (the project brought together 16 social scientists, ethicists, and theologians who conducted new research and published papers in academic journals on the faith beliefs and practices of grown children of divorce-a list of those papers w/links as well as the full report can be found here http://www.centerformarriageandfamilies.org/shape-of-families/) was pretty broad in terms of defining faith belief as well as faith practice--worship attendance, education involvement, service activities, prayer, questions like "I feel that God cares for me..." Your thoughts on the whole non-affiliated piece resonate what many of the researchers found. The integrity of the belief, faith practice, service, giving, fellowship, etc. of their parents when they grew up spoke the loudest and was reflected in the level of faith belief and practice, if not the content.”
So good to hear your stories! I can completely resonate with your memory of running into Ms Larkin outside of the studio and still being in complete awe. What a gift that both you and your daughter were able to take classes.
Thanks for reading, Amy”
“Thank you for writing such an insightful and creative piece filled with sound research. The numbers truly astound. I also wanted to mention one further insight into Gen X sandwich generation--that Gen Xers are also defined by the high rates of divorce/remarriage/gray divorce of their soon to be elder parents--which means caring for TWO or more households, TWO or more financial budgets, TWO or more vulnerable elderly, as well as figuring out if we are obligated to care for aging ex-stepparents or ex-partners of our parents. Exhausting, indeed!”
“Great article. Thank you for continuing to keep these issues before our eyes--a problem that will only be compounded in the coming 20 years as the population of inmates ages 50plus continues to grow. Our current practices show that society thinks of inmates as less than human--thankfully there are prison employees who do not buy into that mentality but it is hard work and they need much more support. Count me in!”
“There is an older sister, who blames her dad for the divorce, and thus often refuses to visit him. The books only follow the family for a year so we don't really get a sense for how things are resolved. The term "switching hour" is from Dr. Evon Flesborg's book of the same name based on years of counseling children of divorce. The switching hour is not so much "dreaded' but becomes a never-ending liminal moment which involves a lot of details (clother, school stuff, etc) which can be stressful for children (and adults, I might add--there's a reason most of us only live in one location) as well as switching between two sets of house rules, family structures--you may be an only child in one home and in the other, due to remarriage etc. you may be a big sister or the baby of the family. Wallerstein points out, as I mention, that children of divorce are incredibly resilient for the most point, but her research shows that quality comes at a cost that often doesn't show up until our thirties and forties.”
“Actually, the dad keeps the house and mom moves into an apartment above the shop she owns. Julie has to leave most of her stuff at her dad's because her mom's apartment is too small, but she rarely goes to her dad's (her old home) because he is a pilot. Her best friend also lives across the street from her dad, which is a major loss.”
ogomos on Mar 13, 2013 at 10:38:53
“Where did the sister come from? Older or younger? Same father? Must not be as she doesn't visit dad with her. Did the story explain that. And how is there a dreaded switching hour if she is rarely seeing her father because he is a pilot. You do seem to want to expand on this story, so I'm curious about these discrepencies.”
makeupphd on Mar 12, 2013 at 21:30:10
“um...that's the dad's fault? i don't understand...and i was a single mom for years!!! you do what is best for your child, not yourself. it might hurt you to keep her close to her father and in the same school...but that's your choice, not julie's. and it's a freaking doll!!!! being a child of divorce is worse than living through the depression, or slavery? please.. this are just as life long influences as divorce.”
“Please feel free to share a link to the local production of Nutcracker in your area! Here are some productions I failed to mention:
Check our Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet's version http://msmetroballet.com/ This year they celebrate their 20th anniversary of Nutcracker!
Or, Tulsa Ballet Theater's production (where I grew up) http://www.tulsaballet.org/ There tickets start at only $20.
I agree with comments below-support your local arts community, and if possible, DANCE!”
If you would like to support the Storybook ministry you can send donations to help cover postage or donations of children's book (must be new) to The Storybook Project, 524 S. 5th St. Springfield, IL 62701.”
“Thanks all for commenting-first, I am supportive of marriage equality, and one thing I have learned from marriages (and I would place same-sex unions under this umbrella term) while serving a Christian congregation as well as serving hospice patients and their families, is that marriage demands years upon years of work, and I see that society as a whole benefits from spouses working together to create a long term sustainable life. For example, the on-going conversations my husband and I have about career, budget, housing, finance and investments, retirement planning, family caregiving (for our elders and our children), personal fulfillment, emotional support, and spiritual belief, just to name a few, are of no real interest to anyone else, and in fact, we are able to have these micro and macro conversations about ourselves and our family because we live them. These conversations never stop, they happen all day and society as whole is better off with me having this life-long, in-depth conversation with one person who is equally yoked to my well-being than trying to patch together support from my dear friends or community resources or government programs. Am I thankful that I have these alternate sources of support? Yes. But would relying upon them 100% be best practice? No. And countless millenia of marriage as the way we create safe space for families convinces me that marriage is best practice.”
“Thanks for offering a voice of constructive hope. I too am a Gen Xer and it is good to be called out for
my natural tendency to turn cynical. What keeps me going is remembering that through all the crises and disappointments of my youth and the youth of my friends, we were working our tails off. I don't have a clear picture of how everything is going to work out, but if we can remain constructive I have full confidence in the ingenuity, work ethic and humor of Gen X.”
hp blogger Kristin Maschka on Jul 2, 2012 at 16:53:32
“Thanks Amy, I too am optimistic that Gen X has developed just the skills and temperament our country needs to fix a lot of longstanding challenges.
“Great article and I look forward to reading more from you. I especially appreciate that you are calling upon non-profit leaders to think in innovative ways as the for-profit companies you mention have and are not asking non-profit leaders to simply mimic a for-profit. I have served as an executive for a non-profit hospice organization for many years and am also an ordained pastor. I would love to hear your impressions on the hospice mission and industry. When I began 10 years ago there were virtually no for-profits in hospice care, but due to the Medicare/Medicaid managed care model of reimbursement which can be manipulated or maximized, to use a less judgmental word, for profit by controlling for length of stay and limiting the number of costly patients you enroll, the number of for-profits hospices now equal the number of non-profit. Medicare/Medicaid is now adjusting it's payment model but the overall issue raises ethical questions concerning serving vulnerable and sick people, the use of government funds, and healthcare care choices in general. I will conclude by saying that I am a realist: as Rich Maxwell has said to me countless times, "No money, no mission."”
hp blogger Richard Dare on May 11, 2012 at 10:13:10
“Thanks for this Rev. Amy.
Your experience uncovers a very interesting risk to nonprofits about which I had not previously thought: namely that in some cases where nonprofits fail to create a viable economic business model to support themselves, the for-profit sector may take over the field with a plan of their own, acting as our competitors -- and in the process ultimately re-write the mission of the field altogether.
It's difficult to imagine this happening in my area (orchestras) at the present time. But as you say, such a takeover may have already occurred in, for example, the hospice care world. So the risk of for-profit takeover introduced by not creating an authentically sustainable economic plan for ourselves sounds like something else we ought to be thinking about in the nonprofit sector sooner rather than later if sector thought-leadership is on our list of important things to accomplish.
We have the chance to determine our own destiny now. But to do so, we must create a sustainable means of support for our work or face the grim possibility, as you point out in your Comment Rev. Amy, of losing the leadership mantle altogether.”
“Thank you for writing--just beautiful. I remember after our oldest son was born realizing that his pain and his death would crush me in ways that my pain and my death never will. I would die a thousand deaths to keep my own children from feeling theirs.”
“Thanks for the wonderful recommendation of the Stuart Davis song. What amazing imagery--falling into the ocean and the ways that we are buoyed to swim. Beautiful. The imagery he paints at the beginning of the hospitals and the cold metal, chilling.
On a totally different note, I had my first King Cake from Whole Foods last Friday and it was tasty. However, they included a bean with the cake and you were supposed to hide the bean. I have never heard of that tradition!”
MamaontheGo on Jan 24, 2011 at 13:45:51
“Thank you! I think the WF bean tradition has arisen from the era of frivolous lawsuits. Although it may also be a revival of an old tradition--the French name for the small "babies" placed in the King Cake is "santons feves"--"feve" means fava bean so that was probably used at some point in history, especially by poorer families. The antique charms are made of porcelain or metal and would definitely crack a tooth or cause some problems if swallowed!
So glad you liked Stu's song. "Guardians" is also a beautiful song for his parents--I have gifted that, another song "Invincible" and "Swim" to friends and the families of my elderly clients when their dear ones pass away. Bright Apocalypse is an album of devotional songs I often give as well. Stuart's music has comforted, inspired and entertained me for many years and I love to share the love! :-)”
“Claire, thank you for commenting. I was really looking forward to watching the Frontline episode, since I thought there would be more success stories from a palliative care perspective, and then ka-bam! it was so depressing. Everyone I've talked to in the hospice world shares your shock that the palliative care world was not better represented. My brother and husband watched it with me and they both said, "Do not let that happen to me!" So, maybe it helped others name what they DON"T want.”