Higher Education

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Film Clips, Chapter 6

Part I

Generation Boomerang

CBC Doc Zone, 45:11

This documentary will strike several chords among the boomerang children (Kobayashi, pp. 114–115; Glossary, p. 339) students in university classes. Those students who live “at home” will find the trends to intergenerational co-residence (pp. 110–112, 343) and their own circumstances and misgivings (p. 113) echoed in these stories of young adults who have left, only to have to return again. It’s not all bad: Generation Boomerang shows the range of positive effects and negative tensions surrounding these living arrangements from both the young adults’ and their middle-aged parents’ points of view. The issue of intergenerational ambivalence (p. 116) can be raised here.

Critical Thinking Questions

  1. If you or anyone you know can be placed in this boomerang generation, what social circumstances brought you back home, or prevented you from leaving? How do these echo the larger trends illustrated in this video and in the text?
  2. Debate whether or not living at home is a good thing for adult children, their middle aged parents, and family formation and maintenance in general. How would the divorce and remarriage of the middle-aged parents (pp. 117–119) affect intergeneration co-residence? How does poverty (p. 121) affect it?
  3. Explain how co-residence is viewed differently across subcultures within and outside of Canada, e.g., among Canadian-born and Canadian immigrant families, or in Aboriginal groups, or in other countries as illustrated in the documentary. How are our concerns about intergenerational co-residence and the idea of intergenerational ambivalence linked to a broader cultural sense of individualism? Is this even an issue in cultures that practise familism? (Glossary, p. 342).

Part II

Time to Take Male Menopause Seriously

Scottish Television’s The Hour, 5:59

In this panel discussion television host “Dr Debbie” and an older man discuss his andropause during his late 50s. Note that some researchers find the process starts much earlier and is more incremental than is menopause in women. Andropause may be another aspect of “intergenerational ambivalence” (Kobayashi, p. 116; Glossary, p. 343) in terms of how most friends, family and doctors fail to recognize its significance for men. Like menopause, andropause can be a personal marker of middle age, as it seems to occur in the middle of the middle age years of 45 to 65 (pp. 109–110).

Critical Thinking Questions

  1. How can this discussion of andropause be situated in the life course perspective discussed in the text? What are the issues with seeing it as a marker for middle age (pp. 109–110)?
  2. How does andropause compare with menopause in terms of how it is dealt with and socially constructed? How do gender roles and gender statuses play a part in this discourse?
  3. Considering this issue and the notes in the text, how might intergenerational ambivalence differ for men and women in our culture? Do you see any signs of this among your family and friends?

Part III

Are You Caught in the “Sandwich Generation”? (2009)

CBN.com, 5:50

Another aspect of intergeneration co-residence is the sandwich generation (Kobayashi, p. 122). This is defined and illustrated by one family in the United States. The clip lists American trends and ends on a positive note with advice to those “caught” in the sandwich generation.

The Sandwich Generation – Trailer (2008)

Talking Eyes Media, 3:54

This brief trailer for an award-winning documentary includes video snapshots of one American family who started caring for a demented elder in their home. The stresses and difficulties (p. 122) are revealed gradually in this trailer.

Critical Thinking Questions

  1. According to the text, what kinds of social (policy) support are we providing to middle aged families caught in the “sandwich generation”? What about to middle-aged caregivers without children at home? Are we doing enough? Instructors may want to address how adult children in Canada are legally responsible for their parents’ care.
  2. How does caregiving in middle age affect women and men differently? Sacrifices are sometimes expected—can you see evidence of this in these videos? Is this fair? Why or why not?
  3. If you have lived with an elder in your family, tell us how you found it. Was it beneficial or debilitating? Would you do it yourself in middle-age?