Home Sweet Home

Everything has been running a little late this morning as I work on the transfer of this blog onto my new website www.gerrycryer.com From today, that is where my daily posts will appear. It would be good if you go and have a look and let me have your comments. Better still would be if you would subscribe.

Today, I was wrapped up in a story from America which has a parallel from one earlier in the year.

Do you remember the mother in Taiwan who successfully sued her son for almost $1 million for raising him and funding his dentistry training? She had signed a contract with him when he was 20 and set off into dentistry. He hadn’t repaid anything and she went to the courts.

Well, not to be outdone we now have an American equivalent.

Parents of Michael Rotondo are suing their son in an effort to get him to leave home. This follows issuing eviction notices over the last few months. Mr and Mrs Rotondo filed their case with the Onondaga County Supreme Court, near Syracuse, New York, on 7 May, after months of unsuccessfully urging their son to leave.

The parent’s lawyer, Anthony Adorante, told Syracuse.com the couple did not know how else to get their adult son out of their house.  For what it is worth Michael, now aged 30, pays no rents nor does any chores around the house.

There must be many a set of parents around the world watching this case with interest and questioning if they should do the same.

There is obviously a lot going on in that family which we don’t know and on the limited facts, I won’t speculate, but it does make me think about that old saying that blood is thicker than water.

Parents love, care and protect children. Hopefully, they also ensure they are educated, but why is this a lifelong contract? While I think it is, I wonder what is the bond that keeps a family together when children are grown-up. And now more relevant to me with the Mighty Bertie ever ready to greet me with a high-five, what is the role of grandparents to the family?

Anthropologists give me a story about protecting my gene line. I find that idea sentimental. When I am dead and gone, that is it and the world belongs to everyone else. I am not so arrogant to be concerned that my name or genes carry-on into eternity.

In many other cultures, where the family unit is more revered, maintaining strong filial links has real economic benefits. Grandparents, no longer able to work productively to kill bison or earn wages, take on a caring role. A strong relationship between grandparents and children also ensures that tradition and values are passed down through generations. It is not so long ago that the stories grandparents told could have ensured survival.

Whatever the anthropological drivers and the changes over generations, the responsibility of a parent to young children will never change.  and that is to ensure that the child grows and is equipped to survive in the world. That means that good parenting is all about letting go and moving the child on.

We love our children but if they don’t move on and make their own new world we have failed as parents. If we do this properly then they invite us back for Christmas and even give us the chance to look after and play with our grandchildren.