A mother of a request

Posted on July 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Since the Great Depression, a couple dozen boulders nestled in the woods in Gloucester, MA have addressed passerby with inspirational sayings – phrases like “Stay out of debt,” “Study,” “Use your head,” and “Help Mother.”

A new online tool is helping make sure we make good on at least one of those concepts.

The See your Folks website invites you to enter the location and ages of your parents, the average number of times you see them in a year, and then calculates the approximate number of times you can expect to see them…EVER AGAIN.

The founders of the site defend their mission by saying that “…increasing awareness of death can help us to make the most of our lives. The right kind of reminders can help us to focus on what matters, and perhaps to make us better people.”  That theory, more than a guilt trip, is something we can get behind.

Parent-seeing has becoming a bit of a global trend – a recent law in China demands that people care for their elderly parents, with provisions calling for children to see them regularly (or at least call on the phone) or risk a lawsuit. The law also requires that employers allow workers time off from work to visit their elderly parents.

The point of all of these initiatives is a valid one – as we all, on average, live longer, and as families are further flung geographically, it’s good to be reminded of the importance (and potential joy) of visiting our parents.

And for those who have lost their parents, or who have valid reasons for not seeing them, the sentiment still applies – nearly every neighborhood is home to someone lonely or elderly who may be perfectly capable of functioning on their own, but may just need a visit once in a while to brighten their day.

Here’s the question – can we rely on concepts like inspiration and scarcity to drive our behaviors when it comes to things like this, or even health-related behaviors?  From our perspective, it sure beats having to legislate these visits, so why not try making it a priority in your family?

Bonus points for visiting your in-laws!

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