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Friday, January 23, 2015

A Different Kind of Amazing...Meet Dale Leon Wood

Almost weekly someone sends us a story about an elder who has accomplished some amazing feat that seems to defy our understanding of aging.  Have you heard about the 92-year-old body builder who may be the strongest man on earth?  What about the 86-year-old  woman who continues to work as a mail carrier?  Do you think you could interview the 77-year-old gymnast whose video has gone viral?  While we appreciate these gestures, we have deliberately and continuously passed on opportunities to contact or interview these "amazing" seniors.  We too are amazed and encouraged by their accomplishments, but our mission is to celebrate a different kind of amazing. 

Meet Dale Leon Wood.  Family and friends gathered yesterday (1/22/2015) to celebrate his life and pay tribute.  Dale, 88, died at home after a valiant bought with cancer surrounding my family in the tiny Ohio village of Ashley (population 1344) where the median household income is $38,239.  Dale will be missed by his wife, four children, fourteen grandchildren and thirty-six great grandchildren.  He served in both the United States Navy & Army and then worked as a machinist for almost thirty years prior to retirement.  He enjoyed fishing, camping, boating and poker.  He lived long enough to celebrate one last Christmas with his family and friends and also to see his Ohio State Buckeyes win the National Championship.  Just an average-Joe, right?  WRONG!!!

There is nothing average about a man who defended his country in both WWII (United States Navy from 1943-1947) and then again during the  Korean Conflict (United States Army from 1948-1952) by choice.  There is nothing average about a man who stayed happily married to the same woman for 61 years while protecting and honoring her with each passing year.   There is nothing average about a man who is truly all about family and community.  There is nothing average about a man who makes each one of his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren feel like they are the one and only apple of his eye.  There is nothing average about a man who knows the value of a handshake, a promise, a joke, and a smile.  There is nothing average about a man who on his death bed can still offer words of love and encouragement despite agonizing pain and the knowledge of a rapidly approaching departure.  In fact, if Dale Wood was average, then we obviously need more average! 

Dear God,
Please send us more amazing (average) men just like Dale Leon Wood. Thank you for sharing him with us! We already miss him. 
The Senior Agenda Family

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Generation Gap & Technology

Are you feeling disconnected with your children or grandchildren due to today's technology? If so, you're not alone. Technology seems to be widening the generation gap at a time when families desperately need to practice cohesion.

Consider the following excerpt written by Genevieve Zook:
While the young are busy posting an apology to their readership blog, before they take an extended summer vacation with their family, the older generations are slow to make use of the latest gadgets and online tools, and are baffled by the reason one would want to post the date you will be absent from your house on the Net.  The resulting clash is being called a new generation gap...While the younger generation has expressed impatience with the older generations's slowness to adopt the latest online product, the older generation is just as bewildered by young people who choose to publish their private information on the Internet.
Read the complete article here.

Social Media is one form of technology that has the potential to exasperate the disconnect between children and parents or grandparents.  In part, because it is wildly popular and has become a fabric of youth culture and then again because too many of us older adults do not really understand how it all works.  Think of social media sites like Facebook as public interactive platforms where folks meet online to chat, exchange information, network, stay connected and play.  What is of paramount importance here is that all of this happens in public.  Every post, comment, like, conversation - even the items one chooses to look at are all for public consumption.  What's worse? Activity on Social Media sites is not only public - but it can also be permanent. These facts set the stage for what is known as cyber-bullying and sexting and also make way for predators and other criminals to profile, study and "get to know" our children online.  Read How to Protect Your Child from the Dangers of Social Media here.  What starts online doesn't necessarily stay online and so Social Media sites are riddled with intrinsic dangers which should cause parents and grandparents to be concerned about and monitor content and activity.