What I Have Learned This Week

In Hebrew, we call grandchildren dividends. The children are the investment. The grandchildren the return on the investment.

It worked well in traditional families where the extended family lived in the same neighborhood, or the grandparents lived in the same building or even with one of the children and their family. So, they had a chance to enjoy the grandchildren. Also, in traditional families, in developing countries, children were expected to support their parents at old age.  That is all gone. One is not supposed to rely on children for support at old age and children grow up and leave the parent's nest and scatter all over the nation, if not all over the world.

Children appear more like an investment with no return. Some are even a liability as they turn to drugs.  Not strange, the reproduction rates in developed countries are going down.

What should one get from children in this new world?

I believe that what is left from the old world, still worth having and we are capable of preserving, is respect.  At least respect. A call once a week. Wishes for birthday. Frequent visits.  And respect in how they relate to us old f…rts who cannot handle the computer or any of the new gadgets. Or forget things. Or lose keys. At least respect, if not love.

I am blessed. I have it, but I have noticed how many do not. They send old parent(s) to an old age home or retirement home, whatever it is called, and may be visit once a year and make a call twice a year. Leave the old parents alone waiting for death to arrive.

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I want to challenge the branding of countries like America as develoPED and others as developING. Analyzing the life cycle curve of organizations, countries follow the same curve and at certain point, more development does not yield that the more is better. More development is making life not better but worse. More economic growth makes our standard of living go up but our quality of life go down: More divorces, more crime, more stress from handling uncertainty, more traffic jams, air pollution, more time spent on handling ongoing problems rather than spending it on the family and finding peace and enjoyment.

Some developed countries are really deteriorating countries.

I was just visiting Uruguay which reminded me of the US in the 1950’s. No stress. Easy going. Lots of time to relate and enjoy each other’s company.  As they strive to catch up with the developed world, I warned them that what they are chasing might not be worth catching.  

Written by
Dr. Ichak Adizes