Sunday, February 27, 2011

Barbershops, Nursing Homes, & Parenting

I was at the barbershop today, waiting to get a haircut, when one of the men getting a haircut was having an interesting conversation with another man waiting to get his. The man on the chair asked a simple question: Why is it that a couple of generations ago, as parents would get older, they would move in with their children; but now, it is far more likely that as someone gets older their children will move them to a nursing home?

He answered that he had heard from someone an astute observation: It used to be that one parent would work, while the other would stay home to raise the children. As time has passed, however, both parents often work, and the children are often brought to a babysitter or daycare center to be watched during the day. When these kids grow up, while in the past they would do as their parents did, which is take care of their family themselves, they instead do as they were brought up: They outsource the care-taking to somebody else. The obvious lesson is that when it comes to parenting, keep in mind that however you treat your children is likely how they will end up treating you.