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December 31, 2011

Senior Scene: For a better life, take the time to get to really know loved ones

Reading was always a chore for me in younger days. Being assigned an entire book to read in a given time frame was a horror.

Perhaps this feeling or I should say "attitude" was due to just that: Time. Reading always seemed to be too time-consuming, and there had to be more time for just "me." Children are children and doing kid stuff is all part of youth.

Being taught reading in the school system back when was very important even though the young mind thought differently. Take it from this old gal now: I should have done more of it throughout my lifetime.

As said: "Practice makes perfect." The more I read, the better I get at it; faster and with more comprehension and so entertaining to the point of not wanting to put the book down.

But I'm back to the old pitfall: Time. The whole remedy perhaps is priorities. What is more important to a person?

Our libraries are simply filled with books on just about every subject, with eye-catching illustrations and on every level of reading ability. With a large library only a block away from my high school, I should have taken more advantage of the educational value offered. Looking back to the earlier days of grammar school, there was no library to visit in walking distance.

A visit to the library certainly is a must for all youths. As I go through life, I have seen many a group of children touring our libraries having their appetites whetted in interest.

Thoughtful and dedicated teachers are an asset.

My problem, years ago, was to help our young son to have more interest in academia. Again, youthful adventures took precedent. There has to be a balance for all, so as to accomplish the more important things and not neglect anything, because youths have to make their own choices in early life that can affect their entire future.

If you have ever read Ecclesiastes 12:12 in your Bible, you most likely will agree that there is so much to read in our world today and that devotion to this becomes "wearisome to the flesh." Too much can be too much, but on the other hand "not at all" is even worse.

We started with visiting teachers and discussing our concerns. Parents and teachers working together are paramount to a child's education. Suggestions were made and followed through. One of our remedies was to expose our son to what he was interested in. This called for knowing and understanding the child on the educator's part. That's where the visits were so important.

I might add: The parents must do the same even though there doesn't seem too much time for it. Understanding a child (or anybody for that matter) takes time and lots of love. That's part of being a successful parent or even successful in any human relationship.

For example: When it came to reading and English composition, the theme or subject for a boy would likely be something like a "Huckleberry Finn" adventure relating to them.

Shakespeare was not our son's expertise by any means.

I recall shopping and scanning the various books to add to his collection of "at that point" seldom read or even looked at publications. "What, where and how is his interest and where should it be directed?" Young minds are easily influenced and lives molded.

We studied the Bible and brought it down to his level of understanding. The whole family took part in spiritual matters and the children felt comfortable in asking many questions and giving their heart-felt feelings to what was being taught. Subject matter such as manners, respect for authority and showing neighbors love was naturally included, along with the ancient nation of Israel's history, prophecy and how salvation is extended to us by our Creator through his son. We took to heart the parental responsibility of all this along, with knowing what the school system taught.

Son and father enjoyed working together in our old barn, doing welding and mechanical projects. Fishing, hunting, or just enjoying himself bouncing his basketball down the sidewalk were some of the activities of his leisure hours.

Several years ago, I wrote about our son and how the Board of Cooperative Educational Services training in welding was so successful and today our son is working on the new Freedom Tower being built in Manhattan. We are thankful that he is happy with his trade and able to make a good living for his family. All is going well.

Elaine W. Kniskern is a 79-year-old resident of Schenevus and a grandmother of five. She can reached at 'Senior Scene' columns can be found at

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