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March 24, 2012

Looking Back: Freedom to speak your mind important for children, too

Daily Star

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We are so fortunate in this country with our many freedoms. Freedom of expressing oneself (as long as you don't step on too many toes), freedom to write and express your many thoughts and ideas. Freedom, freedom, freedom ... go out and shout it from the roof tops.

The Daily Star and the many other news media are to be lauded for the freedom of press. I have read for years the pros and cons of many a controversial subject and still newspaper space is given to each aspiring writer.

"To be or not to be ..." always remained undecided as to what is the best for the populace. Pros and cons ... who can decide?

Sometimes we agree with what is said and sometime not. But, nevertheless, the freedom is there to express.

What I have seen down through the years is that there are always consequences that go along with our decisions and actions.

Yes ... consequences for our actions ... but still I have the freedom of choice.

Decisions have been made throughout the years, and with some successes, but as a whole when looking back at the worldly scene a person must admit to humankind's failures.

Peace, security, happiness and the well being for all is certainly not within reach of every individual on our planet (as we would like ... at least I feel that way.)

I guess all this and the many experiences with their outcomes have filled a multitude of history books and I haven't had the lifetime to read them all.

But this I can truthfully say, what the local folks would relate to "What comes around ... goes around." Better yet is the proverbial quote, "You reap what you sow."

The older I get the more I can look back on life and the possibilities of when I could have done better.

Experience is the best teacher, or so is said. But when growing up that is not applicable, for a timeframe needs to be adhered to and there are not too many young people who want to be advised by us oldsters as to our mistakes or successes.

My parents always seemed to give us three siblings more then they had in life and we were well taken care of. Guidance, security and a healthy environment meant a lot, but now, today, as I look back, there was something that I do not agree with.

Perhaps it was a popular parental ruling, for many back in the 1930s, but having raised three children ourselves the direction of "being seen and not heard" is not an advantageous one.

Maybe this was said relative to the dinner table for that was a time of family togetherness, and there was so much to relate as to the day's activities. With seven in our family (for our grandparents lived with us) you can just imagine the hubbub with seven mouths all going at the same time. Control was needed.

This was also a good time for reminders as to correct behavior and good table manners. There was more social convention or etiquette back then as there is today. This we learned and adhered to.

How can parents know what a child is really thinking or what is in his or her heart unless there is communication and, of course, freedom of self expression?

True ... many a time it can be something we don't approve of but then how can we give guidance unless we know the facts ... all the facts?

As the wise King Solomon advised at Ecclesiastes 3:1, "For everything there is an appointed time, even a time for any affair under the sun ... ." That is certainly good admonition since every child deserves quality time with a loving parent on a one-to-one basis.

Even though imperfect, we tried our best.

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