Bargell: Our kids seem quite OK, thank you |

Bargell: Our kids seem quite OK, thank you

In case you missed it, Stan Rosko, a visitor to Keystone hailing from Aurora, Ohio, recently provided his take on the problems with kids these days, in a letter to the SDN Feb. 3. His concern, as I understand it, is that noone is raising our kids, but, rather, the kids are raising themselves (for a variety of reasons). The letter struck a chord with many folks who commented electronically, and with some of us who did not. In large measure the letter was an indictment of current parenting or, in Mr. Rosko’s view, the lack thereof. Now, I’m not certain if Mr. Rosko had a particularly unpleasant run-in with some kids while visiting our community, or just wanted to voice in the SDN his particular view of what is wrong with today’s society. The genesis of his viewpoint doesn’t matter, because he certainly has the right to feel as he does, and as a parent I am the first to admit that my kids (and their mom) are far from perfect. We often work together on how to treat others with respect, and to mind our collective manners and to make our contributions where we can and how we can. Sometimes it’s just not that easy.

My initial response to Mr. Rosko’s letter was a bit defensive. It was not particularly encouraging that Mr. Rosko wanted to “go up and ‘smack the parents'” he has encountered “for not guiding their kids in the right and proper things to be doing in life.” Perhaps, however, an unbridled attack on today’s generation of parents isn’t the solution to the wrongs he’s identified, and I started thinking about some possible alternatives.

First, I thought it might be important for him to take in a few of the articles that have appeared of late in the Summit Daily News about “kids these days”:

Summit High School student launches student tutoring program (Feb. 1)

Breckenridge first graders hold benefit for Congo (Feb. 1)

Third graders raise money for animal shelter (Jan. 12)

Breckenridge Elementary students ‘give well’ to Africa (Dec. 5, 2010)

Instead of seeing kids as all about themselves, in taking a close look around I found it inspiring the amount of time and effort many of our local kids devote to supporting causes they believe in – everything from Pennies for Peace to buying books for children in Africa. So, just as we can identify areas where we can do better, let’s not over look those kids who spend the time and effort to find ways to contribute to our world.

I then gave some thought to the tremendous energy our community puts into making a positive difference in our childrens’ lives – from Rotary to Optimists, the Summit Prevention Alliance, the Summit Foundation and countless other organizations and businesses that pitch in time and time again to help raise respectful, caring children. Thank goodness for these individuals and organizations that focus on being constructive and encouraging, not just in pointing out where we are lacking. As a parent, I’ve learned much from how our community cares about our kids. After all, actions are more often caught than taught, and these mentors and role models have done a great job at providing parental pointers. Then, I thought about all the angels that have appeared in our kids’ lives – coaches, teachers, pastors, grandparents (real and adopted) – each of whom sprinkle their special gifts throughout the community, lifting up parents and kids alike.

At the end of the journey, instead of being angry at Mr. Rosko’s indictment, I really could think of nothing to say except I’m so sorry. I do hope someday he gets to experience the positive side of our kids – the joy that comes from a hug and thank-you from a child after a great game, or the incredible feeling of accomplishment when a student goes well beyond their own expectations. His point is well taken however: The very best way for our kids to grow up to be “well adjusted, responsible, caring, lovable, honest and productive adults” is to be caring, loveable, honest and productive (yes, even us moms) people ourselves.

Cindy Bargell lives outside of Silverthorne with her husband and two daughters. She is a card-carrying PTSA member, real estate and natural resources lawyer and part-time gymnastics coach. She welcomes your comments at

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