Henrico County Opinions

Growing a grown-up: Part II


When we last touched on the subject of how to raise a grown-up, I mentioned what I considered the Number One rule: limiting TV and other electronic entertainment. Keeping those in the realm of parental control is essential if kids are to develop initiative and intellectual curiosity – and to grow up understanding that entertainment is not a 24-7 entitlement.

The Number Two rule I would suggest is avoiding “7-Eleven syndrome.”

My friend Cindy coined the term when she was going through a divorce, and her husband would pick up their girls for an outing.
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How to grow an adult


It’s been said that two of the most common sources of conflict in a typical marriage are money and sex.

That may be true for the younger set.

Among my fellow sixty-somethings, however, the hot topic lately has been adult children — and the outsized role they play in later-life relationships.

I first heard this complaint from a friend of mine who grumbled that he’d just broken up with a woman he really liked, because he couldn’t stand the way she catered to her grown-yet-irresponsible children.
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Thanksgiving, Part II


As Thanksgiving approached four years ago, I wrote in this space about how thankful I was.

At the time, only three months had passed since the death of my youngest daughter.

I was inspired to write the column, however, because another bereaved parent had said that Thanksgiving is a joke when you are grieving for a child.

After initially agreeing with him, I had to admit that I did have much to be thankful for. And now that several years have passed, I have much more.
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Storm woes for e-junkies

When the lights go out – even when they’re still on – turn to books, bikes and board games

On June 16, Richmond experienced extensive power outages after a summer storm with high winds.

Falling trees demolished cars and homes, blocked roads, and can-openered roofs -- adding water damage to structural collapse. Hospitals scrambled for extra generators. Businesses lost thousands of dollars in refrigerated and frozen goods. Insurance adjusters flocked to town from all corners of the state to handle claims. Worst of all, a Richmond resident suffered serious injuries after being hit by a falling tree -- and a beloved Godwin teacher lost his life at an intersection with non-functioning traffic signals.

As the power outage dragged on for days, the hardship stories multiplied. It seemed half the town was futilely search for ice, sweltering without air conditioning, or busting the budget eating all their meals in restaurants.
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‘Good old days’ were good – for some


My brother Paul and I recently were discussing the “good old days,” and his belief that the Fifties was the best decade ever.

While Paul cited the era’s prosperous economy at the top of his list, he also alluded to another favorite theme of Fifties fans: the social and cultural climate. The decade was a happier time, fans say, because life was simpler, families were closer and marriages stronger. Many of my 50’s-born peers speak nostalgically of the way we romped in the great outdoors by day and shared meals with our families by night, then bonded in our ritual gathering around the TV set.
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Of character and parenting


My daughters and I grew up in vastly different families, so it's not surprising that we hold differing opinions about family dynamics. One of the areas in which we part ways dramatically is the value we place on good parenting.

If there is one fundamental belief that I developed as a result of my upbringing, it is that parenting is the most important role anyone plays in life.

I don't care how accomplished or otherwise wonderful a man or woman is when it comes to career, athletics, academics, or social relationships – if that person doesn't strive to give his or her children the time, attention and love that children need, then that person lacks character in my book.

My oldest daughter, on the other hand, told me recently that she thinks a person can be a lousy parent – yet still be a good person.
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Of car chats and grocery games

Every time I see a child in the grocery store, shuffling behind Mom with his or her eyes glued to an electronic device, I can't help cringing.

Yes, I know how hard it is to get your shopping done with a tired, bored, whiny kid along. As a veteran of two decades in the SPWM (Single Parent While Married) Club, I only rarely enjoyed the chance for a leisurely grocery trip without two or three kids in tow.
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The greatest love of all


In my 20s, I thought I knew all there was to know about love.

After all, I was well-acquainted with the love a person has for friends and family members.

What's more, I had found romantic love – "the love of my life" – after having been through a couple of previous "loves" that I realized were crushes once I met my future husband.
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My daughters’ other dads


My three girls had it so much better than I did in so many ways.

They enjoyed academic opportunities, enrichment programs, and even a choice of schools to attend that I could not have imagined in the regimented, one-size-fits-all schools of my own era. They had the chance to participate in recreational sports and school athletics that didn't exist for girls in my pre-Title-IX school years. And they had a mother who was involved in their lives and passionate about raising them to grow up to be confident, capable, compassionate young women.

There's only one way that I can say I was one-up on my daughters.
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Henrico Business Bulletin Board

July 2017
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Thanks to the NASA @ My Library program, the Glen Allen, Libbie Mill, North Park, Twin Hickory and Varina libraries will host free eclipse-viewing parties and distribute free eclipse-viewing classes while supplies last from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. A solar eclipse will occur that day. Henrico residents of all ages can learn about the science behind eclipses and pick up a pair of glasses to safely view the eclipse. Limited quantities of these safety glasses will be available to the public at all Henrico County Public Library locations, and distribution may be restricted to one pair of glasses per family if demand is overwhelming. For details, visit http://www.henricolibrary.org. Full text

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