Open letter to every parent – from every child

This week, Barbara gives voice to the voiceless

Note to readers: This week’s “open letter” column is something that’s been weighing on my mind since I attended my daughter’s high school open house and heard, yet again, how only the parents of the “good kids” seem to show up. – BarbaraDear Parents,

We are your children, and we need to talk to you. We didn’t ask to be born; we’re here due to your actions. Whether those actions be a few moments of passion or of carelessness matters not; we’re here and we need you.

We need you to provide us with the necessities – food, clothing, a roof over our heads, but that’s not all we need. We need to be loved, and we deserve it. Every child is a gift from God; please treat us as such.

We need your time and your attention. We realize that you may work outside of the home, that you’re tired, that you have housework, bills to pay, and a hundred other things to do, but none of that really matters if you neglect us.

Spend time with us. Sing to us when we’re little. Read to us. Let us read to you. Play games with us, talk to us, listen to us, watch movies with us.

Take us on picnics, help us to develop our imaginations. Give us your positive attention, dear parents, and we’ll thrive. We’ll feel secure in our home lives and we won’t feel the need to stray down the wrong path.

We live in a troubled world, dear parents. Drugs are readily available. Juvenile crime is rampant. Without your positive attention, we may seek whatever attention we can get. Be our moral compasses. Give us boundaries.

We may balk on the outside, but inside we’ll thank you for it. Teach us right from wrong, lead us by your actions.

Get involved in our schools. Check our homework, quiz us for tests, ask us questions about school life and our classes. As we get older we may give you vague answers, but keep asking the questions anyway.

Ask us what we’re reading in English class. Ask us what the best part of our day was, and the worst. Ask us about our teachers – which ones do we like and why?

Go to the open house at our schools, attend the parent-teacher conferences, find out who we are when we’re away from you.

Your attendance in our schools shows us that you care, it gives us a sense of security, it helps us to value ourselves because we feel valued by you.

When we have problems with friends, please don’t trivialize it. Our troubles may seem small to you, but try to remember when you were our age. Keep the lines of communication open. Help us to know that you’re there for us for any reason.

This is an awesome responsibility you bear, dear parents, but we know you can do it. Your hard work will be rewarded with intelligent, well-grounded children who grow into responsible adults capable of contributing to a successful future for our community.

And when we’re parents, we’ll do our best to follow suit because we’ll have your example to follow.

Thank you, dear parents, for listening to us today. We remain …

Your Loving Children


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