A counselor once told me, “I don’t take much stock in dreams,” meaning the kind that come to us in our sleep. Had I been looking to dreams like some look to horoscopes, I would have agreed. But that wasn’t the case. I had been dreaming a new ending of a true life storyline that was, at the time, deeply disillusioning to me. The dream helped me acknowledge the reality of my struggle, to bring it to light for examination, for prayer, for action.
It wasn’t the first time a dream opened a door to recognizing “what is”—which is the very definition of radical acceptance. To be honest, I’ve been dreaming again lately, vividly. In these most recent creations of my mind, I’ve had a second chance to enjoy small children. With two Millennials of my own—both of whom are working to navigate careers rather than starting families—I am a PMWG, Parent of Millennials without Grandkids. And that’s okay, but clearly my subconscious has a different expectation and timeline. In my dreams, I hold small children long and tight.
It is my experience and observation that there’s a whole bunch of parents in the Boomer generation who had an abbreviated parenting experience. Unlike our own growing up, many parents of my generation sense that by the time our kids turned 12, the parental reins passed into the hands of sports coaches and technology and the noise of the culture. There was a reconnection at about 20, but by then our role was that of influencer, at best. The result is a radical truth that, for many of us, there are fewer weddings and even fewer babies, and more challenges around salary, benefits, and affordable housing. The scene for them and for us is different from what we envisioned. Radically different.
In the meantime, Boomers like me have a new world to engage, and it occurs to me that perhaps our truncated parenting has positioned us for new roles in this culture. Ours is the opportunity to mentor, to foster, to adopt, to pursue new friendships, new careers, new ministries—ways to add humanity back to a technology-based culture. PMWGs were born for such a time as this.