The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


August 18, 2013

Robin L. Quillon | Our strength lies within families

— We can do better. I believe it.

I’ve been somewhat depressed by the horrible news of late: Murders, embezzling, sexual assaults and reports of other various crimes in our fair city and counties. And just when you think it can’t get worse, it does. I mean, come on, a 12-year-old robs a lemonade stand! 

How and when did we lose our way? Is it possible to correct course before we completely run aground?

“Someone has to do something about this,” some say. Others opine, “If we just had more money, we could make a difference.”

We’ve seen thorough crime analysis with recommendations. Is it Section 8 housing? Is it the public housing units? Is this madness driven by the want for and/or use of illegal drugs?

Some will cry it’s a racial issue or a racist issue. Others will blame poverty, lack of education, less opportunities or being underprivileged. All are valid hypotheses. And I won’t pretend to have many answers, either.

But what I do know as surely as the sun shines is this: The strength of the nation and our community lies within the family.

Imagine how different society could be if husbands and wives truly loved and cared for and respected each other and their children. Imagine the difference it would make if every father were actively engaged in the lives of their families.

What kind of world would we have if every parent viewed their roles as a sacred duty to rear their children in love, teaching them to honor and obey the laws of the land and of God?

What kind of world would we have if every parent took seriously the responsibility of providing for their children’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs?

What would our community look like years from now if all parents taught their children, by example, to live by the golden rule?

I firmly believe that I, as a father, and my wife, as a mother, will one day be held accountable to our Heavenly Father for what we did or failed to do as parents.

I also believe children have the right to be born into families where mothers and fathers are legally and lawfully wedded.

So what can we do as parents to help make this world and our community a better place?

May I suggest some strategies that I believe will help correct our undulating course:

1) Encourage your children to write personal journals. Keeping journals will give them something to look back on in later years. And provide them with a valuable document their children will one day love to read. After all, are we not a product of our past? They can learn from their past, good or not so good. I’d suggest parents also keep or begin a family history book. What would I now give for a written history of my parents’ parents’ family? To me, it would be priceless.

2) Hey, Mom and Dad, how about holding family councils as often as you can. Fathers, gather your families around and include everyone in important matters of the unit. Let everyone, even the youngest, offer opinions and solutions.

3) I believe one of the most important things parents can do is to show children how much you love each other. And that nothing in this world could ever come between you.

What would society look like if children saw this type of example in every home? Would our young men and women grow up with more respect for one another?

4) How different would they act if they heard more soft tones accompanied by uplifting words of encouragement?

5) What impact would it have if parents held regular, personal interviews with their children? Not to berate them, but to listen to them, and share parental wisdom, expressing confidence and support.

Yes, I believe the strength of this nation and our community lies within the family.

Can we do better?

Yes, I know we can.

And I believe it begins and ends within the family.

Robin L. Quillon is the publisher of The Tribune-Democrat, of CNHI News Service.

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