Monday, April 18, 2011

Sibling support

I was asked to review a BYU-TV documentary on something called "The New Economic Reality" which is actually a further look at "The Demographic Winter" — the name researchers have given to what is going to happen as the world population declines.
I'm taking notes and paying attention when it got to a section on Family Decline.
The narrator started talking about how people around the globe are limiting their families, some drastically, down to one child or none.
She (Anne Sward Hansen, for those who know our soap opera star living in Highland) discussed what the ramifications would be if everyone had small families or single-child families.
The economy will suffer. The workplace will change. The housing market will collapse (again).
Children will be a rarity. Big families will not exist.
There would be no siblings and thusly far fewer aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews.
It would mean a more isolated world, a lonelier world, especially as people aged and looked around for someone to really care.
I thought of my current situation with my elderly father and how frustrating and spirit-consuming it is to try and care for him.
I thought about my brothers and what a comfort they are as they shoulder the burden with me.
It's difficult already to try and reason with a guy who is in and out of lucidity, who sometimes co-operates and other times, defies orders like a 2-year-old. (Are you sure you went to the bathroom, dad? We don't want to get on the road and have to hurry and try to find a rest stop.)
It's tough to talk assisted living and skilled nursing homes and money to pay for any of it.
It's draining to look at years of making the same decisions over again.
So it's good to have someone to lean on a bit, someone who can share the perspective and who has the history.
It's valuable to have grown up together and shared the parents.
Of all the things that a Demographic Winter will bring about, I'm thinking a loss of siblings will be one of the most tragic.

1 comment:

  1. I think that those most willing to decrease their children are those who have had less fullfilling family (including sibling) relationships. That demographic appears to be increasing which may be a contributory force to the isolation that may come. Those that feel isolated even with family think it would make no difference to have no family. Thanks for that information in your blog. Interesting and lonely sounding.