To the Editor:

Well, summer vacation is just about over. Most of the back-to-school shopping is done and I continue to be impressed with the kids I meet who can’t wait for school to start.

I don’t know if it’s because they’re bored, miss their friends or they’re excited about learning. It’s probably all of the above.

I don’t have kids of my own, so for years I have delighted in praising great kids in front of their parents. Few things will make a parent swell with pride like hearing what a great job they did raising their son or daughter. To you parents and kids, I say keep up the good work!

But the real topic of this letter is not great kids and parents. It’s about those other kids and their parents. You know the ones: the bullies who terrorize the weaker kids, who vandalize the school, who try to intimidate teaches and substitutes — and those who actually assault teachers.

I grew up in a time when all adults were treated with respect by kids. “Yes, Sir”, “No, Sir,” Yes, Ma’am,” “No, Ma’am” were the only acceptable responses. Any rude response would result in two or more licks with a wooden paddle.

If the school called your parents, you could almost count on your dad’s belt and your butt getting acquainted.

Today, we’ve got way too many parents who want to be their kid’s best friend. What? You can’t find anyone your own age to play with?

As a parent, you have only one obligation to you child, and that is to teach him/her how to grow up to be a decent, law-abiding adult, who can make it on their own when they leave home.

Treating others as you’d like to be treated should be a given in every household. Correcting bad behavior toward others, especially adults, should be immediate.

The decisions you make as a parent won’t always be easy or popular. Today’s kids know they have laws to protect them, and they’re not above using extortion to get what they want. Show any weakness and you have lost. You have lost your kid’s respect and without it, you are powerless.

I’m sure you’ve heard this before: “I brought you into this world. I’ll take you out of it.” Many no-nonsense parents have spoken these words to let their kids know who’s in charge and it works.

Before school begins, I hope every parent will sit down with their children and tell them what is expected of them this school year, and the penalty for failing to live up to that.

I haven’t forgotten about the importance of teachers, but I’ll have to save that for another letter.

Bill Paquette


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