Being an Auntie Is a Responsibility We Need To Take Seriously

April 3, 2023

Spring is known for new beginnings in my hemisphere. Flowers, sunshine, and the delight of warmer temperatures. The sun doesn’t go down the middle of the afternoon anymore! It is a gift to so many of us who are thrilled that a new season has begun, even if our allergies start to flare.

My aunt, Marilyn Saxe, turned 99 on that wonderful start of spring, March 21st. I was with her just days before that amazing event while in San Diego on business. Auntie Marilyn is the epitome of upbeat. She wears bright colors. She is thrilled for you when good things happen. Her birthday gift from me, along with a new cord for her iPad’s old frayed one, was a pair of red reading glasses (big ones like the ones I wear) because they would make her look like Sally Jessy Raphael. She is a fun to be around aunt!

Auntie Marilyn checks in on me. She sends me missives in the snail mail, leaves voice messages on my phone, and places positive emojis on my social media posts. She is proud of all I am doing. She says so all the time. She isn’t just proud of me. All her kids, grandkids and great grandkids are prominently featured on the walls of her apartment and she speaks of them so proudly in her interactions with others. She is hoping to be around to see one of her grandchildren finish law school next May. And until then, she will continue to cheer her on towards the finish and cheer us all on in our lives. She is a great auntie.

While in Hawaii, in a show of respect while on a kayaking trip, the guide called me ‘auntie.’ Now, there is lots of news these days about how upset women are about being called “Ma’am” and I get it – we imagine that term of respect is only for those so so much older than we are and it feels diminishing. Perhaps being called ‘Auntie’ might, for those who don’t understand the feeling behind it, could sound the same too.

Yet, I am now 56 and to that 32 year old, I was old. And it was respectful in his culture to call me Auntie. I was grateful for the kindness. And, hey, my aunt rocks so why not be an aunt? Besides, I have two nephews so I am already in that category. Proud of it too.

Ari Wallach in his book, Longpath: Becoming the Great Ancestors Our Future Needs challenges us to own our auntie and uncle titles and to consider our actions and how they’ll impact generations and generations into the future.

Stephanie Cowman, creator of the Instagram handle, Mrs. Cowman’s Classroom, and also found on Facebook and Pinterest, has a congruent to my theme and powerful visual that stops me in my Auntie tracks every time I see it. See it on the right side of this paragraph. Somebody is learning how to be a person by watching you. Let that sink in. Boom. Mic drop.

How are we behaving in our interactions with others in our aunt and uncle roles? Are the children seeing us being the aunts and uncles we need to be? They might not be our true relatives, but face it, we are all related when you think about it at a big enough scale.

We need to grow (up) and be the best adult selves we can be for all of our nieces and nephews around the globe. Join me in discussing what it might take to live up to that amazing and honorable aunt and uncle status. See some spring/summer workshop info below and/or find me so we can design some personalized sessions for you and your teams. Happy Spring.

Workshops are open to all.

May 6, 13, 20 with EARCOS (suitable time frames for those working in Asia)

May 9, 11, 16, 18 with MiraVia (most suitable for those working in North and South America)

June 27, July 5, August 8th with ROE4 in Illinois (most suitable for those working in the USA as they will ship the book anywhere in the USA)

If you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions, please feel free to email me at I look forward to hearing from you.

Cool Resources

Pico Iyer’s The Half Known Life: In Search of Paradise. “Traveling from Iran to North Korea, from the Dalai Lama’s Himalayas to the ghostly temples of Japan, Pico Iyer brings together a lifetime of explorations to upend our ideas of utopia and ask how we might find peace in the midst of difficulty and suffering.”

Pooja Lakshmin’s Real Self-Care: A Transformative Program for Redefining Wellness (Crystals, Cleanses, and Bubble Baths Not Included). “In Real Self-Care, Lakshmin helps readers understand what a real practice of caring for yourself could—and does—look like. Using case studies from her practice, clinical research, and the down-to-earth style that she’s become known for, Lakshmin provides a step-by-step program for real and sustainable change and solace.”

Stewart Levine’s Pilgrim’s Path: Morning Practice for Seekers. “In this deeply personal and soulful book, Stewart Levine shares the poems that were his Morning Practice for a period of three years. One poem for every day of the year along with reflective questions. The poems will stir your soul and make you think about things that are present in your world.”