Visit underscores importance of an upbringing

This afternoon, I was sitting in my room here at Autumnwood when a group of youngsters from Hopewell-Loudon school, along with two adults, came in. One of the kids looked to be about 6 years old and the others a little older. They were here in honor of Veterans Day.

Actually, it was a very pleasant surprise because I love to talk to children. As I’ve mentioned before, for the past 20 years I have been going to Krout and Washington schools and telling stories to the first-, second- and third-grade classes. The stories I tell always have a good message, which we talk about after the story. This is the first year I have been unable to do it because of a health problem. I surely miss it and hope that I’m able to continue some day.

I told them how I used to go the schools and tell stories, and yes, because they were here, I did tell them a story. It was about a child who wanted to buy a puppy but the puppies were expensive and he had only 29 cents. The story is such that it brings to mind love, kindness, compassion and empathy. We then talked about it after the story, which took only a few minutes.

Why do I say that this was pleasant surprise for me and why do I love to tell stories with a good message to kids? Well, just turn on the television and listen to some of the stuff that our kids are listening to these days. Do you believe that it is the kind of talk that young people should hear, or is most of it negative talk and a lot of violence? Not all of it is negative, as there is still some good, positive viewing for children but, in my opinion, there is far too much of the other.

So that’s the way I feel and I certainly do not expect everyone to feel the way that I do. I just love to put my thoughts on paper. Because our local paper gives me the opportunity of doing so, it’s my responsibility to be honest about how I truly feel.

This group of youngsters were all good and polite — very respectful. They gave me the impression that they were happy in school and I would guess that they have good upbringing. If you should ask me what was it about them that gave you that impression, I would say that I’m not sure. It was just a feeling they left me with. I will go a step further and say I would guess that they have a good home life with good upbringing.

OK, now that got me started. For those who know me, realize that when it comes to talking about family life, I could go on and on. Bringing up our children properly is an extremely important job. To the degree that we bring them up to be mature adults, to that same degree do we improve our society. You see, I happen to believe that in too many cases, we are making some mistakes the way we bring up our children. Let me explain why I make such a statement.

I know how we raised kids years ago and I know how they are raised today. There is a difference — a big difference. Years ago, we made mistakes, too. The mistakes were that in too many cases we were too harsh in our discipline. Our child experts told us that we must change the way we do things.

So, what did we do? Well we changed all right — but we went too far the other way — we over corrected! The result is that these days there is no discipline. There are parents who think they are harming their children if they give them any kind of discipline.

I certainly am not an expert when it comes to raising children, but I’ve been observing behavior on this earth for 87 years, and have always been a good observer of human nature. I’ve noticed what works and what does not work; and letting your children call their own shots all the time does not work. Children need guidelines. I am not talking about harshness, we don’t have to be harsh in our discipline. We can be gentle and do it in a loving manner. Please keep this adage in mind, “Nothing is so strong as gentleness; nothing so gentle as real strength.” So those are my thoughts. I would like to end by thanking the group of young people for coming to visit with me and to let them know that I was sincere when I said that they were polite and respectful.