Creating roots and wings in your children

My husband and I visited our “St. Paul son” over the Labor Day holiday weekend. During that visit, my son and I had a couple of opportunities to talk, just the two of us. One good conversation took place in the car after dropping Natalie at the Minnesota State Fair to work another shift at the corn stand. She is 15 and would be starting her sophomore year in high school in a matter of days. Not only was she working at the corn stand — in 10-hour shifts, no less — but she also was working some early mornings at a nearby coffee shop. Just before beginning school, she managed to work 49 hours in four days!

My son and his wife both work hard at their jobs and have always believed that instilling a solid work ethic in their children was one of the best things they could do. But as Natalie worked through her shifts and began to drag a bit, my daughter-in-law began to feel sorry for her, saying, “That poor kid!” My son said, “Well, don’t let her hear you say that. After she has worked through this, we do nothing but congratulate her for sticking to her plan and toughing it out. It is very good for her to learn how to grind and to have fun doing it.”

As it turns out, they were very right in their approach to Natalie’s workload. She toughed it through, had a good time learning teamwork, and felt very proud of herself for managing such a busy schedule. After it was all over, she said with a big smile on her face, “It made the start of school so much easier!”

I tell this story because it made me remember the quotation that goes, “There are only two lasting gifts we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.” Who coined the phrase is not important — it has been attributed to several people throughout history — but its meaning and implementation really do provide the cornerstone for success in life. My husband and I did our best to raise our own two sons using this as a guiding principle and now watch as they are raising their children with similar priorities. And as I pondered how instrumental roots and wings are for children, I wondered how we continue taking that approach to life for ourselves as we age.

Roots grounded within a family — a feeling of belonging to a unit greater than themselves — give personal strength to children. They know there is a place to go and another person to turn to when they need help. They can depend upon an ear to listen, words to guide and a shoulder upon which to cry when their young world seems to be crumbling around them. They also take strength from knowing that they are relied upon to do their part in support of the family. Chores, no matter how small, are important, no matter what age. From setting the table to drying dishes to stacking wood to shoveling snow, all become a learning experience and a point of connection to the workings of the whole family. Children and young adults learn personal pride from helping the family function and succeed together.

I feel so good when I hear our grown sons reminisce about their childhood. They remember Saturdays outside helping their dad with whatever the season required. They liked raking leaves because when they were really young, there was more jumping in leaf piles going on than actual raking. And once the leaves were raked, there was always a football scrimmage in the making. As they grew, more was expected. We all “worked the wood pile” — as my husband cut the delivered logs into burnable pieces, I threw each piece over the backyard fence and the boys stacked it. But when the two of them had to move it from the pile into the basement throughout the winter, more snowballs flew at each other than wood through the basement window! However, a lot of character was developed along the way, and they knew they were a big part of having a warm house. They contributed to the family’s comfort. And each of them can now pinpoint very specific turning points in their young adult lives when their dad and I were there for them; not to solve their problems for them but to guide them to their own solutions and to support their decisions.

From those strong roots, wings can grow and develop. When children are allowed to make mistakes, wonderful things happen. Every mistake is a teachable moment where we can show them how to do it a little better the next time. They also gain confidence, and confidence based upon their own experience leads to sound decision-making in the future. Eventually, they are able to fly from the nest on their own and become self-sufficient and successful in life.

And it is their life to lead. I think one of the most difficult things to manage as a parent is to step back and allow your children’s mistakes to happen. One can only do so much protecting, and the time comes to simply let go. They will not learn to fly on their own if we as parents are always there to catch them. Instilling personal accountability is so important to a child’s successful independence. Eventually, that independence does come, and then we can take great joy in seeing the lessons we taught our own children take root in the next generation.

As seniors in the last leg of our own journey on this earth, a sense of roots remains as we watch our children become parents and pass along many of the same lessons we worked so hard to teach them. Our oldest son just helped his first-born move into the dorm to begin his freshman year at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He feels the same mixed emotions we felt when he left “the nest” for college life: pride, relief, anxiety and loneliness for the little boy who grew up in the blink of an eye. But our son knows now, like we knew then, that he will be fine, because the same roots nurtured him for 18 years. Another grandson will graduate from Arizona State University as a commercial pilot this December. Two grandchildren are learning to drive; our sons are teaching them in the same manner as they learned from their dad. And the youngest grandchild just began junior high, and we all know the amount of support and understanding he will need as he makes his way through adolescence. But as the youngest, he has grandparents, parents and big brothers to help him through those challenges.

As seniors, our wings are a little less active. But as we watch each generation grow and eventually take flight from the nest, we regain some of our own energy. Their journeys bring back memories, and we relive the joys of our youth. We find we still have a little air left to provide the lift we need under our own wings to experience a few more journeys in the years we have left.






Scenes and Sounds, 11:30 a.m. Sunday through Saturday.

Sunday: Toss across, 1 p.m.; dunking donuts, 2 p.m.; church, 2:15 p.m.

Monday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; brouhaha, 11 a.m.; library cart, 1:30 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; ice cream social, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Crafts and gardening, 10:30 a.m.; reminisce, 1:15 p.m.; Kentucky Derby, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; rosary, 10:30 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; Golden Throats, 2 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Reading buddy, 11 a.m.; Bible study, 1:15 p.m.; bingo with Carol, 2 p.m.; afternoon visitor, 3:30 p.m.; “Lawrence Welk,” 4:30 p.m.

Friday: What’s cooking? 11 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 2 p.m.; sing along, 2:30 p.m.; happy hour, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Meet and greet, 10:30 a.m.; daily newspaper, 11 a.m.; oldies but goodies, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; evening news, 6 p.m.

Iron County 

Medical Facility

Crystal Falls

Sunday: One-to-One church visitors, 8:30-11 a.m.; room visits 9-11 a.m.; story telling, 10 a.m.; bingorama, 2 p.m.

Monday: Crafts, 9-10:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; sunshine club, 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday: CF library, 9:30 a.m.; book club, 10 a.m.; prayer, 10 a.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; comedy movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Community breakfast, 9 a.m.; trivia, 10:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; getting pretty, 1:15 p.m.; men’s club, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; United Lutheran, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 2:30 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9 – 10:30 a.m.; LVD casino, 9:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; “To Tell the Truth,” 2 p.m.; action movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Puzzler/name that word 10 a.m.; geri-gym, 11 p.m.

Manor Care


Wet your whistle: 9:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

Exercise: 10 a.m. Sunday through Saturday.

Movie: 10:45 a.m. Sunday through Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday and 3:15 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Popcorn Day: Every Friday

Sunday: Just jokes, 10:15 a.m.; company’s coming room visits, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant church, 3 p.m.

Monday: Did you know? 10:15 a.m.; Crystal Hogan music, 2 p.m.; pokeno, 5:45 p.m.

Tuesday: Trivia, 10:15 a.m.; resident council/food committee, 2 p.m.; movie and manicure, 5:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Remembering when, 10:15 a.m.; monthly birthday party with Jim Edberg, 2 p.m.; flip five, 5:45 p.m.

Thursday: Crosswords, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; magic moments music, 5:45 p.m.

Friday: Finish Lines, 10:15 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 2 p.m.; chips and chatter, 2:30 p.m.

Saturday: Current events, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Maryhill Manor

Niagara, Wis.

Rosary, 8:30 a.m. Sunday through Friday.

Sunday: “Family Feud”, 10:15 a.m.; music bingo, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant service, 2:30 p.m.

Monday: Protestant service, 9 a.m.; rock crafts, 10:15 a.m.; nickel jokereno, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Men’s breakfast, 7 a.m.; current events, 10:15 a.m.; prayer shawl, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6:15 p.m.

Wednesday: Yoga, 10 a.m.; monthly birthday party with Crystal Hogan, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 6:15 p.m.

Thursday: Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; Scattegories, 10:15 a.m.; Bishop Baraga event, 2 p.m.; whammo, 6:15 p.m.

Friday: Ball toss, 10:15 a.m.; trivia, 10:30 a.m.; happy hour with Crystal Hogan., 2 p.m.

Saturday: Crafts, 10:15 a.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; bingo, 5:45 p.m.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain

Juice time, 10 a.m. Sunday through Saturday.

Exercise, 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Shopping days: 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, must sign up.

Sunday: Bible study, 1:30 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Monday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Music with Pastor Jim, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Bingo, 2 p.m., refreshments, 3 p.m. 

Thursday: Left-center-right, 2 p.m.; rosary, 3 p.m.

Friday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.; dinner out, 4:45 p.m.

Saturday: Movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

Florence, Wis.

Morning news, 6 a.m. daily.

Beauty shop open Tuesday and Thursday

Snack cart, 7 p.m. daily

Sunday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; Pastor Miller, 3:30 p.m.

Monday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; resident council meeting, 2 p.m.; room visits, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Music with Larry, 2 p.m.; social hour, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Craft 10 a.m.; Connect Four, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Pastor Jason, 10 a.m.; manicures, 2 p.m.; chocolate milk shake party, 3 p.m.

Friday: Catholic church service, 10 a.m.; balloon volley, 2 p.m.; coffee social, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; family/friends social time

Pinecrest Medical Care Facility


Sunday: Grace Church, 10:15 a.m.; ball toss, 10:30 a.m.; Pictionary, 2 p.m.; life stories, 3:30 p.m.

Monday: Life connections, 9:45 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; rosary (second), 2:30 p.m.; bean bag toss, 3:30 p.m.; checkers, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Bus ride, 10 a.m.; busy bee, 12:15 p.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; “Family Feud”, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Casino outing, 10 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; birthday party, 2 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Exercise, 10:30 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; Trouble board game, 6 p.m.

Friday: Mass, 10:30 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 a.m.; bunco, 2 p.m.; social circle, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Karaoke, 10:15 a.m.; cards, 10:30 a.m.; ice cream social, 2 p.m.; reminiscing, 3:30 p.m.


Note: All centers ask for 24-hour advanced reservations for lunch. Those who have meals delivered who will not be home should notify the center.

Alpha-Mastodon Center


Meal at noon every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Amasa Center


Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Lunch at noon.

Bingo on Tuesdays.

Free meal drawing on Thursdays.

Menu for the week:

Tuesday: Breaded pork chops, baked potato, broccoli, lettuce

Wednesday: Sausage, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, corn, tomatoes

Thursday: Lasagna, green beans, garlic bread, lettuce

Breen Center


Meals Monday through Friday.

Pasty sale every third Saturday of the month, except on holidays.  

Cards and games available 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2 p.m. 

Hostess on duty Monday through Friday.   

Treats and coffee, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Center retail store is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday; volunteers and donations are welcome.

Birthdays acknowledged every day.

Evening meals are on the first and third Thursday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with dinner at 5 p.m. Donations are $4 for those 60 and older and $5 for 60 and younger.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Chicken stir fry, rice, Oriental vegetables

Tuesday: Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn

Wednesday: Pork roast, mashed potatoes, gravy, baked beans

Thursday: Night meal: Chicken and spaghetti, green beans, garlic toast

Friday: Salmon loaf or pork chops, parsley potatoes, cream peas

Soup, salad and dessert are offered with every meal. Reservations for meals are encouraged. Walk-ins are welcomed.

Crystal Falls Center

Head cook: Lucy Korhonen


The center is not just for seniors – bring a friend.

Suggested meal donations: $5 if older than 60, $6 if younger than 60, $1 extra for take-out.

To reserve meals, call the center by 1 p.m. with name and number of people.

All dinners include the soup and salad bar, homemade dessert, tea, coffee and milk

Open Monday through Wednesday, with soup and salad bar at 4:30 p.m. and dinner at 5 p.m.

Mondays: Basket weaving after dinner – all are welcome for dinner and/or class. Beginners can make their first basket with materials provided.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Lasagna, garlic bread, vegetables

Tuesday: Burritos with all the toppings

Wednesday: Cheeseburger, baked beans, potato chips

Crystal Lake Center

Christine McMahon

906-774-2256, ext. 235

The center is closed on weekends.

Monday: Woodcarvers, 10 a.m.; mahjong in dining hall, noon; Les Artistes Art Club, noon; bridge club, 12:15 p.m.

Tuesday and Thursday: Pinochle, 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: Billiards, 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday: Spinning Spools Quilters Guild, 1 p.m., with crafters, scrapbookers and others also welcome; knitting and crocheting class, 1 to 3 p.m.

Thursday: Happy Quilters, 1 p.m.; two-person team cribbage, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Friday: Smear, noon.

The kitchen once again is open and serving meals. A new lunch program is offered from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. every Wednesday. Meals cost $5 for those younger than age 60 and a $4 donation for those who are older.

Home-delivered meal menu for the week:

Monday: Chili and cornbread

Tuesday: Shepherd’s pie, spiced pears, biscuit

Wednesday: Egg frittatas, hash browns, sausage

Thursday: Liver and onions, mashed potatoes, California blend vegetables

Friday: Chicken salad sandwich, carrot salad, chips

Center-based meal menu:

Wednesday Lunch: Burger bar with cheeseburger soup

Transportation is available from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call Buzzin’ Around Town at 906-282-0492. Rides are $3 for age 60 and older, and $3.50 for younger than 60. 

Felch Center


Meals served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Wednesday.

Bingo after lunch on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

A congregate jigsaw puzzle is done daily.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Baked chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, roll, pudding

Tuesday: Sloppy Joes, baked beans, coleslaw, pears

Wednesday: Roast beef, baked potato, carrots, tropical fruit, bread

Aging and Disability Resource Center of Florence County, Wis.


Director: Tiffany White

Suggested donation for seniors older than 60 is $4 per meal. Residents younger than 60 must pay $7. Reservations and cancellations are needed 48 hours in advance.

The ADRC can assist area seniors and those with disabilities with transportation Monday through Friday. Transportation reservation should be made with meal reservation.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Liver and onions or chicken breast, mashed potatoes, candied carrots, pears

Tuesday: Chicken salad on croissant, lettuce and tomato, baked beans, apricots, pudding

Wednesday: Beef stroganoff with mushrooms, noodles, broccoli, Mandarin oranges

Thursday: Pasties, beet salad, bananas, cookies

Friday: Glazed pork, parsley red potatoes, Brussel sprouts, fruit

Other assistance includes information on aging, a benefits specialist and caregiver support.

Fence Center/Town Hall

715-336-2980 — RSVP for meal at 855-528-2372

Meal at noon Wednesdays only – Same menu as listed under ADRC of Florence County. Reservations are requested. Cribbage and cards are available.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall

RSVP for meal at 715-528-4261

Home-delivered meals are available. Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. at this center Monday through Thursday, with the same menu as listed under ADRC of Florence County.

Tipler Town Hall

715-674-2320 – RSVP for meals.

Serving lunch at noon on the second Thursday of the month only, with the same menu as listed under ADRC of Florence County.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora

715-589-4491 – RSVP for meals

Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, with the same menu as listed under ADRC of Florence County. Transportation arrangements can be made to and from the meal site.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Pam Haluska


Meal is at noon Monday through Friday. Suggested donation is $3 for age 60 and older and $7 for those younger than 60. Morning coffee is available daily.

Fifteen games of “fun bingo” are played each Tuesday and Friday, along with a 50-50 drawing.

Tuesday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Cards played in the afternoon. Call ahead to see if a game will be going on.

Friday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Monday through Friday: Walking in the gym, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A treadmill also is available.

Enjoy friendly interaction with other crafters.

Iron River Center


Meals served 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; a $4 donation is encouraged from those 60 and older, and a $5 payment is required from those younger than 60. Thursday meal, 3:30 p.m. soup, 4 p.m. salad bar, with dinner 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Home-delivered meals are available — call 906-774-2256, ext. 235 or ext. 230.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Beef burrito, rice, mexicorn, fruit, milk

Tuesday: Swedish meatballs, noodles, broccoli, roll, fruit, milk

Wednesday: Fish, cheese hash browns, peas, fruit, milk

Thursday: Stuffed shells, wax beans with bacon, breadstick, dessert, milk.

Niagara Northwoods Senior Cafe and Center

Meal site manager: Corrie Maule, 715-251-1603

Senior center director: Jill Anderson, 715-251- 4154

Noon meals served Monday through Thursday. Transportation is available to the meal site for those living in the Niagara, Wis., area. Any senior groups that would like to use the meal site as a meeting place are welcome — join us for lunch, then stay for a meeting or social time. Wii games, cards, puzzles and board games are available to play. 

Other activities are in the works — suggestions are always welcome. 

Those who have not been at the meal site/senior center are invited to give it a try. Those who haven’t been here in a while are encouraged to come back.

Norway Center

Director: Susie Slining


Monday through Thursday: Meals served at noon, with salad bar. Soup also is available at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Milk, juice, bread, fruit, tea and coffee served daily. Meal donation is $5. Reservation for the meal should be made in advance.

Two special-themed meals take place each month on Tuesday, with bingo, prizes and a 50-50 drawing.

Two evening meals offered at 5 p.m. on the first Monday and third Wednesday of the month, with bingo, prizes and a 50-50 drawing.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Country-fried steak, carrots and onions, baked potato, salad bar, fruit, juice, dessert

Tuesday: Breakfast bake, hash browns, soup and salad bar, fruit, juice, dessert

Wednesday: Noon meal will be taco salad with vegetable toppings over tortilla chips, salad bar, fruit, juice, dessert; dinner will be barbecue ribs, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, soup and salad, dessert

Thursday: Birthday Club – Cheese ravioli, garlic bread, green beans, soup and salad bar, fruit, juice, birthday cake

Center board meeting is on Monday, Sept.16 at 10 a.m.

Cards are played daily after the noon meal.

Craft and exercise classes: Mondays and Thursdays.

Ceramic and art classes: Wednesdays.

Note: File of Life packets are available at the center.

Sagola Center


Meals: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11:45 a.m.

Cards: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Commodities every other month and quarterly commodities are every three months.

A puzzle table is available to enjoy. Volunteers are always welcome. 

Menu for the week:

Tuesday: Chicken casserole, broccoli, rice, biscuit, Mandarin oranges

Wednesday: Breakfast bake, muffins, fruit

Thursday: Spaghetti bake, garlic bread, carrots, pears


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