Parents are best teachers of financial responsibility

While I heartily endorse Leslie Parrish's comments in her May 2 Opinion piece, "Financial literacy and kids," I must address a glaring omission: the responsibility of parents.

Now, I realize that some parents are the very model of financial illiteracy that we want to move away from. But here again, the schools are being asked to teach what should first be taught in the home. Parents can and should be models of fiscal responsibility.

As parents, my husband and I discuss financial decisions at the dinner table and weigh the pros and cons of different purchases.

My son (a 9 year-old) has his own savings account. He gets an allowance, which he must use to make purchasing decisions regarding his friends' birthday presents. He sees me balancing our electronic checkbook. We discuss how to track and budget expenses. We review his (rather tiny) stock portfolio and discuss the theories behind the stock market. And most important, we attempt to model the behavior we wish to inculcate in him.

I wish that more parents would assume the responsibility they (tacitly) agreed to when they decided to have children and rely less on external influences to teach their children what is correct.
Carolyn Ferrell
Airmont, N.Y.

Mandatory steroid tests raise concerns

The April 28 article "How one school system took on steroids," about Florida's alarming program to test high schoolers for steroids, is a perfect example of how seemingly objective, journalistic reporting can obfuscate public debates.

Mandatory testing of student athletes is a slippery slope that many would find contentious, though you wouldn't know it from the article. Moreover, without putting steroid abuse in a cultural context of unreasonable body images and parental expectations, as well as escalating invasions of the US government into private lives and bodies, the report lacks any explanatory power or deeper insight.

I want to hear the pros and cons of issues from multiple perspectives, not a cheerleading piece further perpetuating moral panic.
Christopher Sweetapple
Amherst, Mass.

To win war on drugs, curb demand

Regarding the May 3 article "A growing force against meth use": America will never win the war on drugs until we remove the demand. We've worked on the supply side, but efforts at reducing demand are not working. The prisons are full of drug offenders. They get out and then go right back because they are still on drugs. Thus the demand is still there. The drug problem will be solved onlywhen the demand goes away.
James B. Johnston
Ogden, Utah

Gratitude for a loving mother

Regarding the May 4 article "Love and lessons that last": I, too, have fond memories of my mother, who has now passed on. I was very fortunate to have such a loving, kind, and devoted mother. A strong Christian, she was a responsible parent and a good role model for me and my siblings; she tutored us at home each day; made sure we attended church and taught us good values; and she taught us to be open-minded.

In addition to these things, my mother had to shield her African-American children from racism. She had to try to explain society's myopia and xenophobia, as well as another of its ills: separate and unequal treatment based on the color of our skin.

In spite of this societal phenomenon, my mother taught us to accept all people on the basis of their character. I am thankful for her being my mother.
Barbara Jacobson

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