You have three high-school-aged grandchildren. The oldest is an excellent student and would go to university if his parents had enough money. The other two have no plans beyond high school other than buying motorcycles and having fun. You have $10,000 set aside for your grandchildren’s futures. Do you dole it out equally?
Your sister was addicted to alcohol and became pregnant in her teens. Her son, now 18, is in counselling for his own addiction problems. If he knew about his mother’s past, it might help him recover. But your sister, now a successful realtor, forbids any mention of it. Do you break the silence?
Your adult son has a history of being careless with money. Despite your urging to buy something more modest, he and his spouse bought a house they couldn’t afford. Now they’re having trouble paying the mortgage. You recently came into some money. Do you help them out, or should they learn from their mistake?
You’re a lifelong churchgoer; your daughter and son-in-law are atheists. Three days before Christmas, they must leave town to be with his father, who is gravely ill. They leave their two school-age children with you. You always attend Christmas Eve services. Do you bring your grandchildren with you?
Your grandson has applied to a prestigious university, and his marks are just shy of the admission cut-off. You know he would have sailed through had he not missed so many classes in his last term due to his parents’ messy breakup. The dean of the college is an old friend. Do you call in a favour?
You began by helping an elderly neighbour with her lawn. Then you agreed to buy a few groceries, fix her cabinets and clean her eaves. Now she phones twice daily, and her “little requests” take a lot of your time. She has no family and no one else to support her. What do you do?
Catherine Gordon's October 2017 feature for The Observer, 'A tale of two cancers,' recently caught the eye of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and his Washington, D.C.-based team, and inspired a short documentary. Gordon talks about the experience of writing the article and participating in the film.
Founded in 1829, The United Church Observer is the oldest continuously published magazine in North America and the second oldest in the English speaking world. It has won international acclaim for journalistic excellence and garnered more awards for writing than any other Canadian religious publication. Read more...