To the editor:

One of my adult children asked me what I remembered most about what my parents did for me as a child. Her question had to do with what my parents did that had a lasting influence on my life. As parents, we have only one chance to get it correct. When our children are in their developmental years, we have the greatest impact on their future lives. I hope that we can all agree that parenting is a huge responsibility. We tend to be overly concerned about or investments that, for the most part, are just things. It tends to be easy for us to overlook our most important responsibilities. Has my daughter’s question started you thinking? Were you fortunate enough to have loving parents that had the time or inclination to actually guide you with your childhood development?

For those of you that have children in their early developmental years, you can evaluate your parenting practices. Grandparents need to take a supportive role on behalf of the birth parents. In either case, my recommendation would be parenting with love. I am not saying that discipline should be taken out of the equation, but that instructive discipline should be based on love from your heart. It has been said, “that the greatest of these is love.”

We need to stress that it is, many times, rather small or seemingly insignificant actions or events that can have lasting influence over our lives. An example in my life had to do with my work ethic. I was expected to help around the house, as well as doing chores at my parents’ place of business. It has been my natural inclination to pass on this same work attitude with our children. Another parental influence was demonstrated by my mother. Mom would raise her right hand and say a short prayer for our safe passage as we packed into our ‘39 Dodge. I would be squeezed into the middle of the front seat, with no seat belt. We could all hear our mother as she made an appeal to her beloved Jesus. Many years later, when our mother passed on, we children held great faith that mother was a true Christian and that we could all expect to rejoin her in Heaven. What a blessing a small, heart-felt gesture can make on one’s life.

The choice is up to all parents and grandparents to make those lasting impressions with their impressionable youngsters. Yes, children’s lives do matter and with our love, we parents can demonstrate actions that could influence our children for generations.

Tom Haller