The Importance of Being a Parent

Thank you for the excellent series ``Raising Children - Who's in Charge,'' May 2, 3, and 6. The future of our society is shaped now by how we rear our children, and we need to take this duty more seriously. Company policies need to support families. When our son was born last year, my husband had to use vacation days to be with me. However, if there had been a death in the family, his company would have given him three days of paid leave! Isn't a birth at least as important as a death?

Society must admit the importance of being a parent. Women should not feel they are wasting their talents if they stay home to raise children. I feel much more needed and fulfilled as a mother than I did as a computer programmer. Fathers, too, want to spend time with their children, and this should be encouraged.

Finally, we must make it economically possible for a family to survive on a single income. I know several mothers who are forced to miss their children's first steps and words because they must contribute to the rent payment. And even more than the obvious ``firsts'' that parents miss, children miss having someone who loves them and is there to share life with them. Loving and parenting cannot be squeezed into a few minutes of ``quality time.'' Quality time is quantity time, and our society needs to take positive steps so that parents can be there for the little things.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

Suzanne Soul'e, Vista, Calif.

Parenting is a choice Regarding the article ```Parent Power' Is on the Rise,'' May 6: I was quite surprised at some of the suggestions expressed on how to financially support and raise children.

Dr. Edward Zigler is quoted as saying: ``Child care doesn't raise children. Head Start doesn't raise children. If we want children to be raised properly, it's got to be the parents.'' This makes a lot of sense. What doesn't make sense is that state and federal governments and employers be asked to financially support couples with children.

Having a child is totally the decision - the choice - of a couple, not the government, employers, or anyone else. Couples that can't afford to have mom or dad stay home and care for the child should wait until they can fulfill the responsibilities of being parents. Pregnancy can be prevented.

Where does it say that in order to live happy, fulfilled lives, couples must produce children?

Jackie Leonard-Dimmick, Atherton, Calif.

Big cars and auto-idolatry The article ``Carmakers Find Big Is Beautiful,'' April 26, serves to help perpetuate auto-idolatry, which is a bane to this world in general and the US in particular.

How about at least balancing each auto story with one on bicycles, buses, trains, and other forms of transport that do not so harm the environment? Or perhaps you could report on the true cost of the one person/one car syndrome. The auto companies with their skillful advertising agencies will do quite well without news stories that play into their hands.

Thomas L. Harmon Jr., Greensboro, N.C.

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