Honour thy mother and thy father- a familiar refrain that we learnt as part of the Ten Commandments. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, this really was not something we had a choice in- it was expected.
Many boomer caregivers today feel this continued expectation when it comes to providing care to an aged parent or other relative. I am not so sure this is felt or experienced the same way by the next generations Gen X (born between 1965-1979), Gen Y or Millennials (born between 1980- 1994) or Gen Z (born after 1995).
I attended the closing night of SoulPepper’s ‘The Promised Land: Steinbeck Through Song’ this weekend and reference was made to the biblical term ‘thou mayest’. You may recall the classic Steinbeck novel ‘East of Eden’ reference this term. Many of us may have read this book in high school; (which I did but could not fully recall) so I reread this classic last year. Last evening’s reference reminded me of how important choice is- to all of us.
Thou mayest provides us with a choice; the choice to provide caregiving assistance or not and if yes, how much? There are no guidelines, there is only need and how we respond is our individual choice.