Children are most important investment

By Will Collins

Over the holiday weekend, several things caught my attention that left me thinking, “that would be a good topic to write about.”

Many of the instances involved children, so I put a lot of thought on how to tie most events around our young citizens.

My daughter, who is now 10 years old, has watched me over the years thanking our brave men and women for the services they have performed for our country. In most cases, it has been men wearing a hat identifying the war time in which they served.

Prior to the weekend, we were having dinner in a restaurant before beginning our holiday travels. An elderly gentleman sat a few tables away, wearing a World War II veterans hat.

Before I could say anything, my daughter walked to his table and said, “Sir, thank you so much for your service.” The smile on his face as he thanked my daughter spoke volumes.

When she came back to the table, she suggested we offer to pay for his meal. I smiled with my own joy as I waived at our server so I could inform her of our intentions. When we finished eating and were about to leave, the gentleman thanked us for what we had done for him. I told him it was nothing compared to what he had done for us. He was my hero.

My daughter and I spent the weekend at the lake in East Tennessee with several other members of our family. On Saturday, our campground held its annual Labor Day cookout, and several veterans were in attendance. It was a blessing watching her thank them and offer a handshake to them and their wives.

It’s a good feeling to know our children are watching and learning about the good things, such as showing respect. But it also reminded me of the flip side when we as adults do the wrong thing; they see that as well and certainly can imitate the bad sides of life just the same.

It’s vital we remind ourselves children are watching and learning, so let’s set the proper example.

In fact, we as a society can take this even further by investing in our children’s future. At the Clark County Board of Education meeting last week, it was discussed how we are losing kids to other districts for various reasons but struggle in trying to attract new families to our area. Essentially, when parents are looking at school districts for their children, I have found they concentrate on two things: quality of education followed by extra curricular activities, most notably sports. Obviously, there are other things to consider, but these two stand out first and foremost.

In Clark County, we can compete in scholastic areas, so that leaves us with the sports for the children. A big portion of this will be addressed with the sports complex being built and we will witness great results with this venue.

We do, however, need to do even more and offer year-round training for our youth as I see in other areas of our region.

This will take some community involvement, but a good sports complex will offer our youth the opportunity to train outside of their sports season. For example, if my child wants to play baseball/softball, I want him or her to be able to learn and practice even in the winter months.

It would also create revenue, as parents will pay good money to give their child an edge. I’ve seen it in many areas and in every sport.

Families in the eastern part of our state are making their way to our region because of the decline of the coal industry. Imagine having a competitive sports training program to go along with an outstanding educational system. It’s not a pie in the sky dream, otherwise we wouldn’t see it in other areas of the state.

As Pastor Charles Swindoll said, “Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”

We need to teach them right, treat them well and always be willing to invest in them now to prepare them for the future.

Political enthusiast Will Collins is a lifelong resident of Kentucky and has called Winchester his home for the past 20 years. He can be reached at wrcollins70@gmail.com