Beyond the byline: Teach your children well

Beyond the - byline - Geri Gibbons
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I recently drove back from Lynchburg, Virginia. It was a seven-hour trip, but I did not speed, talk on my cell phone or even change the radio station as I made my way home.

I had good reason. My daughter Caitlyn was following me in her car and I want to be a good example to my children.

I want them to be safe and to behave well so I try to be safe and behave well.

I recently interviewed a high school student who is heading off to college to become an attorney.

Her dad was an attorney and she recalled growing up with a great familiarity of his office and the principles of law.

Another student told me he is committed to volunteering, just as members of his family have been committed to volunteering for generations.

As a single parent, it is sometimes difficult to take time to transfer my values to the next generation. It’s important, not only to be genuine with our children, but to take time with them. In the day and age of fast food, super internet and cell phones, many things can be accomplished very quickly.

Not so with raising children or maintaining friendships.

Twice this week, I’ve been speaking to my children on the phone and said, “Well, I love you and I’ll let you go. I’ll talk to you soon.”

Twice my children said, “No, don’t let me go. I want to really talk to you.”

That extra time on the phone was priceless. I looked up from my computer, grabbed my coffee and said, “What’s going on?”

They didn’t disappoint — sharing additional things that are going on in their lives they needed me to understand.

We can pass on legacy to the next generation if we take time to do it.

Many of those who live in the Greater Pittston area seem to get this right. I’ve had a wonderful opportunity of interviewing businesses owners, especially on Main Street, and most are passing on the business to the next generation. I think specifically about Fino’s Pharmacy, Majestic Lunch, Joyce Insurance and Gerri’s Bridal Shop.

Often those interviews were less about the business and more about the wonderful family relationships that continue onto the next generation.

Even though our children often benefit from our good examples and share our interests, they sometimes don’t appreciate quite how wonderful we are.

Caitlyn, for example, recently said she wanted to become a writer, perhaps even for a newspaper.

She often responds to crisis by writing amazing essays that might match any professional writer’s ability to paint a picture or convey an emotion.

“That’s what I do,” I said, encouraged that my children might want to follow in my footsteps.

“It wouldn’t be anything like what you do,” Caitlyn said.

I know sign language and have interpreted at church for the deaf.

Caity is majoring in American Sing Language.

​Caity and I sometimes communicate in sign language, but again, she draws the line at saying it’s a shared interest.

“I’m learning a different kind of sign language,” she said.

And, yet, in spite of our children’s determination to be their own person, they’re grateful to have someone’s footsteps in which to follow.

When we stopped for super large cups of coffee at a convenient mart, a habit we both enthusiastically share, I said, “I love you, Caity.”

“Me too,” she said.

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Beyond the

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Geri Gibbons