My friend, Betsy, just returned from a trip to Florida to visit her elderly mother and 3 step sisters. Betsy's mom and her step dad had been married for more than 30 years before he died, so the girls had been long time friends as well as relatives. Betsy's mom, Anne, is living in a condo, but life is getting more difficult for her and she is getting more forgetful. Within this setting Betsy wanted to make the time with her mom as meaningful as possible. So, you ask,where do British boarding schools come in?
It seemed that it was getting harder and harder for Anne to track conversations going on around her, so the girls decided they needed to ask interesting questions and get their mom to tell her stories. The girls could chat when their mom wasn't there. When they were altogether, the girls would lead her into topics where they could be entertained by Anne's past. Anne grew up in England. At the age of eight she was sent to a boarding school. Those experiences were quite foreign to the American daughters, so they were very interested in hearing about what life was like for one so young. Anne had also done a lot of traveling with her first husband - all over the globe. The gals encouraged her to tell what she remembered of those times.
By looking for common ground for all of them and focusing on Anne, the daughters found something interesting that would connect them all. Anne loved being the center of attention and appreciated that someone was interested in her tales. The girls created a win/win situation from a scenario which could have been frustrating had they not looked for what would work for Anne at this time.
With this focus, the trip took on a life of its own.