Executive Function Role Model

Who Do You Want to Grow Up to Be?

I will be 65 this summer, and I want to grow up to be my mother-in-law, Selma.

I have just returned from a family gathering to honor her 90th birthday. Just about the whole Sklar clan came together for the occasion. It was a time for three generations to reconnect and tell stories – beloved old ones and hysterical new ones. We laughed so hard, shared so many hugs and ate and ate.

My generation talked about retirement – pros and cons, annoying aging bodies and pondered our children’s lives and choices. The grandchildren, in their very early thirties, discussed their career choices, relationship decisions and their futures.

And at the center sat Selma, a living model of strong executive functioning. Alert, often giggling, knitting and snacking, not missing a thing. Her mind is sharp. As always she is strongly in the now, enthusiastically living every moment of her day, which often starts with swimming for an hour at 6:00 AM because that is the only time she can fit it in! Her retirement days are chock full of things she loves to do, from playing bridge, taking art classes, attending lectures, quilting, playing bocce ball to riding her scooter down to the community garden to check on her tomato plants.

What Selma Teaches Us About Executive Function

During this getaway, a granddaughter asked, “Grammie, what’s the wisdom you want to share with us?”

selma w kids

Selma with her four “children”

To which Selma replied, “Live each day well.” And I happen to know that she does that because Selma always has a plan for each day of the week. I’ve often seen her reference her appointment calendar throughout the day. My husband once said that when growing up she always asked him, “What’s your plan for the day?” She continues to have excellent executive function skills for future thinking, planning and time management.

Selma’s full satisfying retirement life didn’t happen accidentally. She had been planning and saving for this time of her life for years and years. Sure, Selma has lived through some tough and difficult times including a recent diagnosis and treatment for ovarian cancer, but the past is just the past for her. She doesn’t let it interfere with her present enjoyment of the wonder of being alive, surrounded by those who love and admire her.

So, can you see why I want to be be Selma?

Selma epitomizes living a life with enthusiasm. I wish everyone could experience her joy for living. And watching her, her children and her grandchildren motivates me to continue to help others grow the skills to be able to design their days with an eye to their futures. It’s one of the reasons I’ve produced the Adult Seeing My Time® Planner and the NEW Set Up Success™ Student Planner. Both planners are much more than an appointment calendar or an assignment book. They are a system that changes the wiring in your brain as it relates to time management, planning and organization. They support you to keep learning, to make plans, achieve goals and have fun. Both planners are available for preorders, so if you are interested, check them out. We do a limited production run.

Time for me to get back to some planning for this week, but before I go, who do you want to grow up to be? Take that first step, that first action for reaching a goal that enriches your life.

Little by little,


Marydee Sklar and Family

The Sklar clan!

About the Author Marydee Sklar

Marydee Sklar is the president of Executive Functioning Success and the creator of the Seeing My Time Program® and the Set Up Success and Seeing My Time® planners. She is an educator and author of three books on executive functions, as well as a trainer and speaker. Marydee has more than twenty-five years of experience working with students and adults with executive function challenges.

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Ify says May 2, 2018

Inspiring! One should live a life of gratitude to God and keep hope alive. An encouragement for the younger generation.

Kristel Olsen says May 2, 2018

Hi Marydee! You gave a presentation at William Temple House when I was a mental health counseling intern there. As a former educator I VERY much appreciated the presentation and the idea that executive functioning skills can be cultivated and honed. In my work as a new therapist I know I will be putting your tools and techniques to use with clients. Selma sounds amazing! 🙂 Kristel

    Veronica Bishop says May 8, 2018

    How fun! Marydee remembers that presentation well and says hello. She is so glad that the blog resonated with you, and we are so happy that you are able to continue using these EF tools to further your therapy practice. Stay in touch!

Dale.Grealish says May 3, 2018

Marydee – thanks for sharing your story about Selma. Very inspiring! I too am turning 65 this year and I want to continue to live life vibrantly. I appreciate being part of the SMT community that you have created. Good stuff!!!

    Veronica Bishop says May 8, 2018

    Thank you Dale! Marydee loved reading your comment and we are so appreciative of you and all that you do to support us as well!

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