Retirement Reflections

by Sandy Jackson

Having recently retired from being a psychotherapist for over 40 years, I have been reflecting about what I have learned from my patients. Yes, I have given direction to many, yet I believe I have received and learned as much if not more than I have given or taught.

The experience of being with someone through their difficulties and being trusted with their most intimate thoughts is a very spiritual experience. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have had the opportunity to "be with" so many people over the past years.

I have thought about what is the most profound change I have observed? I think it would have to be the change in fathers' involvement in their children's lives. The difference between my grandfather's generation (almost no involvement), my father's generation (minimal involvement), and in my husband's generation (definitely more) is that the involvement of the current generation of dads is staggering. I see dads attending their wives' OB appointments to experience hearing a heartbeat or viewing a sonogram of their newborn child. I see fathers getting up in the middle of the night to sooth their crying child, attending school events such as teacher/parent conferences and more. Many fathers are no longer just the backyard griller and trash carrying men. This is a new wave of liberated men!

To what do I attribute these changes? I fully believe that the Women's Movement of the 60's and 70's allowed, not only women, but also men to grow and evolve. Women no longer were the only homemakers and caretakers for their children; many if not most worked outside the home. No longer was I seeing a division of labor in the traditional sense. Yes, there are roles for each person in the household, sometimes they are traditional and many times they are not. Instead I have observed the division of labor being dependent upon how each couple decides to divide the tasks needed to sustain a household. Many (not all) fathers are willingly and happily taking on more traditionally female roles: cooking, doing laundry, and many times being stay-at-home-dads while their wives are the major wage earner.

And in addition, the grandparents of this generation are much more involved with their grandchildren than in previous generations for much of the same reasons.

My reflections bring me joy today as I reflect on these past years. There are so many individuals I had the privilege of guiding and watching each learn to know themselves, solve their problems, and heal themselves. They were my teachers as well, teaching me about many issues and problems that I personally have not experienced. I have watched this most important social change, that of men participating in all of the parenting roles, from diaper changing to attending teacher conferences. Perhaps you have observed some changes in your family dynamics in these past years. May you take a few moments to reflect on your own past and some of the gifts you have received.

Sandy Jackson has undergraduate degrees in education and math and a masters degree in social work. Early on Sandy was a middle school math teacher, then she was assistant to the senior financial VP in the real estate division at Mitchell Energy involved in developing The Woodlands, Texas. She was in private practice nearly 40 years as a psychotherapist. On a personal note Sandy has been married 49 years, has two daughters, and two grandchildren. She is an avid reader and duplicate bridge player. She volunteers at Meals on Wheels and Emergency Aid Coalition.





Love Offerings and Tithes Appreciated
Send to

View Alphabetical Article List from InnerWords Messenger


View Back Issues

Tell A Friend

Innerworks Publishing         Site Credits

E-mail your articles, questions or humor to:

Copyright 2003-2017 Innerworks Publishing -- All Rights Reserved