Too Tired to Attend to Your Child's Education?

In the opinion-page column ``Dual-Earning Dangers,'' Nov. 12, the author tells of receiving a call from an outraged woman who attended a parents' night meeting at her child's school when about 100 out of a possible 600 to 1,000 parents showed up. This certainly rang a bell for me. My son recently entered first grade at a school bursting at the seams with approximately 700 children in grades K-3. At a recent meeting held by the principal to discuss school curriculum, four parents including myself, showed up. A few weeks later I attended a Parent Teacher's Association (PTA) meeting where two other parents showed up. I then attended a meeting dealing with racial problems within the school and one other parent attended. I discussed with the principal the poor attendance by parents at these meetings and he gave the same answer the author gives in her article - often both parents are working and are too tired to attend. He said 15 years ago the PTA meeting was a big night out for parents; it was a social occasion and the meetings often filled the auditorium.

Because of the poor attendance by parents and members of the community today, we are allowing a minority of parents make decisions for the majority - decisions that could be better if more people took the time to attend. Isn't it important to get priorities straight, for ourselves and for our children? After all, they're the ones with the most to lose. Diane Mutchler, Davis, Calif.

The author observes that women today enter the workforce to keep pace with inflation. But as earning power rises, prices rise to match it. Aside from owning more gadgets, most of us do not live much better than our parents - but we must work harder to maintain this level and the dangers of slipping from it are increased. In a free-market society there is a natural, automatic ceiling on affluence. Society-wide attempts to rise above it can only lead to the ever-faster treadmill and the community degradation the author describes. When greed fuels an economy, we race to our own destruction. Aaron Shepard, Arcata, Calif.

Punishing Parents The article ``Punishing the Parent For Child's Misdeed,'' Nov. 16, addresses the tactics being used by educators to deal with chronic truants - parents doing time for their children's misbehavior. Fining parents up to $500 and putting them in jail for 30 days is an unreasonable approach. Officials who expect children to ``change their ways'' after seeing their parents in jail are in for a rude awakening. Punish-the-parents methods don't address the problems affecting a child.

We must place more emphasis on the individual child and improve family and school counseling. It is plausible that punishing parents might be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back. It could irreversibly split the family. A. Duann Folden, Florence, Ala., University of N. Alabama

Value in volunteering The Home Forum article ``Knight on the D Train to Brooklyn,'' Nov. 16, about the past and current state of service and fraternal organizations, tells only half the story.

The author reminisces about the days of his father's generation when people found value in volunteering their time to charities. What he overlooks are the millions of men and women in service clubs today who continue to volunteer countless hours to community service projects.

In remembering his father, the author recalls ``the blood drives, gifts for needy children, and other fund-raising.'' Volunteers still champion these causes. They work for abused children, the disabled, the homeless, and the hungry. Recently, they've added educational and environmental improvements to their noble concerns.

The author states that he doesn't ``know anyone who belongs to such an organization.'' It's true that it is difficult to recruit time-strapped young adults. However, a recent survey of 25- to 45-year-olds conducted by my own group, the Lions Club International, revealed that 76 percent of those surveyed believe it is important to volunteer. Our own membership has never been higher. It's up to all service organizations to create programs to inspire young adults to contribute their time and effort. The US is the largest country of volunteers in the world. Given programs that are time-efficient and gratifying, I see no reason why this won't continue. William L. Biggs, Oak Brook, Ill., Int'l President Lions Club International

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