Jewish World Review April 28, 2011/ 24 Nissan, 5771
Take Your Middle-Aged Kid to Retirement Day
By Tom Purcell
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day ought to be expanded.
One day every April -- this year, it'll be on Thursday -- parents bring their kids to workplaces to help them "envision their future and begin steps toward their end goals."
But why limit the program to kids 8 to 18? In these difficult economic times, we middle-aged people need dreams and aspirations, too.
That's why, every year, I spend that day shadowing my parents. They are retired.
It usually begins at 5:30 a.m., when my father and I drink coffee and complete the crossword puzzle.
"This is the life," I say. "No job, no boss and lots of time to do crossword puzzles!"
He asks me for a three-letter word for a son who gets on his father's nerves, but I'm never very sharp at that hour.
Shouting out several wrong answers, I accidentally wake Mom, who stumbles in to join us.
"What do you want with us?" she says, rubbing her eyes.
I drop a carton of milk on the floor as I attempt to prepare her coffee.
"Your father is calling you from the other room," she says.
I don't hear his calls, though. All I hear are his heavy steps heading to the bathroom. He slams the bathroom door shut just as I get there.
"Did you call me, Dad?"
"If you're going to finish the crossword puzzle in there, can you hand me the Reader's Digest?"
As we while the morning away, the mailman arrives. He delivers two checks -- one from a private retirement account, one from Social Security.
"Now that's what I'm talking about!" I shout, as Mom and Dad roll their eyes.
Dad and I head to the bank to deposit the checks. The manager has her young daughter with her at work.
The girl proudly tells me she will be a bank president one day.
"I hope to retire," I tell her.
By early afternoon, I am really taking to the retired life. As Mom leaves the house to go for a walk with her retired friends, Dad and I watch "Judge Judy."
"How do you think she will rule on this one?" I say.
"Don't you have a job to go to?" he says.
"Can we watch 'The Price is Right' later?" I say.
"Your mother worries about you," he says.
We are both pretty drowsy about then. I nod off on the family-room couch as Dad saws logs in his favorite leather chair.
I wake refreshed as Mom arrives back home.
"How was your walk?" I ask her.
"Why aren't you married?" she replies.
Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, originally Take Our Daughters to Work Day, was established by the Ms. Foundation 18 years ago.
In 2003, the program was expanded to include boys. I say it's high time we expand it to include everybody else, too.
Aspiring to the simple retirement so many of our parents enjoy may drive more adults to make our politicians get our affairs in order.
If we don't get spending down, we face a certain future of massive taxes and a dead economy that will make our retirement unlikely.
In any event, my day shadowing Mom and Dad is always productive.
Unlike the Ms. Foundation people, who think big careers are everything, I am reminded that not working is where it's at.
I hope to begin not working -- er, retirement -- as soon as possible.
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© 2011, Tom Purcell