They’re your kids, care about them

Published 9:45 pm Wednesday, August 22, 2007

By Staff
Last week a few of us, and I do mean a few, gathered to discuss whether the Optimist Club would continue in Cassopolis.
The less than handful were tired of being the only ones to attend a meeting and often the only ones to do any projects.
Though I wasn't personally involved with the soccer program, I did organize the Christmas party with singing and Santa by the tree at Stone Lake.
The same three of us who were at the meeting the other night were also mainly the ones who gathered Christmas presents and clothes for families we adopted, also at Christmas time.
As we talked and tried to determine how we could keep the programs and events going, I was bothered by what I was hearing.
Apparently a lot of parents believe these project are easy and free – babysitters.
Instead of offering to help out, they drop their kids off and then go run errands or have time for themselves. They let us worry about their kids.
It has been awhile since my four were young, but I gave my dues.
I was president of the parent organization at the grade school. I worked the concession stand at the ball field. I organized and ran the fundraisers – more than one year.
I was just as busy as everyone else. The difference is I felt I was obligated to participate as a parent.
I went to the parent/teacher conferences. I planned the teacher's thank you luncheon.
They were my children and I got involved. Sure it would have been nice to sit and watch every game, or relax in my car and read a book. But then why should someone else have been the one responsible for the concession stand?
Why should another father have been the coach?
I guess I just don't understand that attitude that many parents have.
I don't think we have a final decision yet about whether to give up on our Cassopolis Optimist Club.
I am afraid it would break the heart of Dr. Mike Listenberger of Niles, who sponsored the club while he was the president of Optimist International.
I don't want to give up on those kids who played soccer for the first time in their lives and are excited to play again.
I don't want to see the Christmas tree lit without the children singing and drinking hot cocoa afterwards.
What I would really like are more adults to step up to the plate and volunteer to be a part of their child's life.
Businesses have also changed their attitudes. Years ago it was looked upon with pride that a company's employees joined volunteer organizations. The business would even pay the dues for the employee.
In this time of cuts to bring up profits, many businesses have decided this is also an unneeded expense. Unfortunately, some people have dropped out of these nonprofit organizations, like Optimist, which require a yearly dues.
Somehow we need to help people recognize how important these organizations are to our youth, whether it is soccer or Little League. And how important it is for parents to donate their time to keep them going.
Children grow all too quickly. When you donate time one year whether for 4-H as a leader, coach of a team or maybe being a den mother for Cub Scouts, you are showing your children how much you care to be involved with their activities.
I don't regret any of that time I spent when they were still home. If I have a regret, it is I didn't spend more time reading and less time watching television.
Time never returns. Once it is used it is gone forever. Make the best of your time.