Q: Our children almost never call us or come see us. They say they’re busy, and I’m sure they are, but it’s lonely and even a brief phone call would make us happy. Could you please urge young people to stay in touch with their parents? It may not be important to them but it sure means a lot to us. — H.B.
A: I am sorry that you feel lonely. People of different generations often have different value systems and this can sometimes lead to conflict and estrangement. Although these value systems may be different, one is not necessarily “better” than another. I would urge you to try reaching out to your children and to try to arrive at some common ground if there has been conflict in the past. In order to fight your feeling of loneliness, you could try interacting with other people in your area (via a community center or volunteer work), taking up a new hobby, or committing to learn a new skill.
I love Samuel Johnson’s wonderful insight into the age-old conflict between children and their parents:
“The opinions of children and parents, of the young and the old, are naturally opposite, by the contrary effects of hope and despondence, of expectation and experience, without crime or folly on either side. The colors of life in youth and age appear different, as the face of nature in spring and winter. And how can children credit the assertions of parents, which their own eyes show them to be false?”
Feel free to leave your answer to this question in the comments.