You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Do parents really matter in today’s culture?

A Time article about the “Me” generation has provoked strong reactions from many perspectives.

Published in the magazine’s May 20 edition, the essay by Joel Stein characterized those kids born between 1980 and 2000 as a product of a culture that has produced “narcissistic … fame-obsessed … lazy … stunted” adults with an incredible sense of entitlement, although he also viewed them as “earnest and optimistic.”

This essay has been perceived rather negatively by many parents. Raising kids is tough at so many levels. We can deal with the sacrifice, compromise and tensions of raising kids if our actions help determine how our kids turn out. We always knew that our influence was limited by our children’s genetic predisposition. However, now it seems that societal factors minimize our impact.

Cultural changes feel overwhelming. We warn our kids about the dangers of sexting, and a 22-year-old guy named Evan Spiegel invents Snapchat, a program that allows pictures and texts to be sent and then be permanently erased after several seconds. We just can’t keep up, and are tempted to just tune out and drop out emotionally. We love our kids, but there is this uneasy sense that it doesn’t matter what we do.

If our kids’ characters are the result of culture and chemistry, then do parents really matter?

Here’s the point where I’d love to cite some scientific study that says that parents still make a difference. I can’t. All I can do is reflect back what I’ve learned from hard-working and decent people who seem to be raising kids who are moral, loving, and productive. Here’s what they have in common.

1. Confidence. Good parents act like they matter. They don’t ignore the impact of society, but go about raising their kids with a strong belief that our daily interactions, guidance, discipline, and fun times are more important than Facebook, iPhones and texting.

2. Small steps. Effective parents know that little things can have a big impact. They have dinner together and talk about their day. They listen carefully and try to understand the perplexing world of their kids. They do fun things on the weekends rather than focus on a long list of chores. Perhaps most importantly, they are in loving relationships that serve as powerful role models to their kids about marriage and commitment.

3. Values. Good parents live what they believe. They teach their kids about compassion, hard work, and personal responsibility by living a life that truly reflects what they say. These parents are not reluctant to assert that some values are better than others.

My mom used to describe rain as “liquid sunshine.” I’d tell her that she could pretend all she wanted but she’d still get wet! I’m not trying to act like my mom and deny the impact of culture, but I have to believe that parents still matter.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

Husky stolen in Texas in brazen theft that leaves owner heartbroken
Husky stolen in Texas in brazen theft that leaves owner heartbroken

A resident in Fort Bend, Texas is heartbroken after a brazen thief snatched her Siberian husky from her yard in the middle of the day. The theft was caught on surveillance video and shows the dog struggling against a leash the thief used to drag the dog from its yard. The video also shows the white van that was used to steal the dog. The owner told...
Exercise of the Month: Dumbbell Flyes
Exercise of the Month: Dumbbell Flyes

Dumbbell Flyes help to strengthen the chest (pectoral) muscles. For maximum benefit, include them alongside other common chest exercises, such as Pushups and Chest Presses. This allows for developing strength on varying planes of movement. Primary muscles targeted include the chest and shoulders. Indirectly, Dumbbell Flyes work the upper back and biceps...
Ill New Carlisle boy, 4, gets to enjoy Disney
Ill New Carlisle boy, 4, gets to enjoy Disney

A Special Wish Foundation-Dayton Chapter is the only wish granting organization located in the Dayton region. For more information on how you can be part of granting a local child’s wish, go online to A child’s wish, no matter the age, is incredibly special. Almost all of us have looked into the night sky waiting...
D.L. Stewart: The circus is leaving town … finally
D.L. Stewart: The circus is leaving town … finally

News that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus will fold its big top forever this May brought back a flood of happy, smiling memories for me. Ok, maybe not a flood, exactly. More like a droplet. In fact, my ONLY happy, smiling circus memory is from when I took my daughter to see one when she was six or seven years old. As the circus began...
Frostbite danger: Late treatment can lead to permanent damage
Frostbite danger: Late treatment can lead to permanent damage

Red cheeks and tingling fingers shouldn’t be considered a normal part of time spent outside on a frigid, winter day. Instead, these should be thought of as the beginning signs of something potentially dangerous. “Frostbite is a real condition that can be a threat to anyone who spends extended periods of time outdoors in cold weather,&rdquo...
More Stories