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Parents taking the time to be with their children matters

When I was a little girl my father worked for a company in Los Angeles. He was, at the time, the equivalent of the program that tells your computer what to do when you turn on the power switch.

My father would get up very early in the morning and drive from our home in to work, write the program for the people who needed to use the computer to do their work, then fix that program if anything happened to make it stop working; Even if that meant going right back out the door as soon as he got home or being woke at 3am to drive to work. He would leave before I woke in the morning and be home late enough that I do not have many memories of my father outside of weekends and family trips.

I remember going to his office with him a few times, and riding along as he delivered payroll checks all over Los Angeles and Hollywood late at night a time or two. I recall a trip to somewhere where I met someone my father worked with and the man gave my brother, sister and me each our own bulky calculator with red LED numbers.

And yet, my father still managed to be a huge influence on my early years. I got a love of reading from him that drew me more toward libraries than video arcades, I developed a passion for computers, science, space and storytelling. So much of who I am came from this man who had so little time to spend with me when I was very young.

So, when people say that parents do not have the time to oversee what things their children are interested in, to guide them away from things the parents do not want their child to be involved with, all I can wonder is – why? My parents somehow found the time to take my siblings and I to Big Bear camping, or Castake Lake boating, or Marina Del Rey to feed pidgeons… creeks I can’t name fishing, Magic Mountain, Knotts Berry Farm, Disney Land, old ghost towns, out flying toy airplanes… Out to watch the California Condors fly before they were endangered, the San Diego Zoo (with wonderful wax animal machines), the ranch / petting zoo of a man who’s name escapes me at the moment, and so much more… all before I was 10. If as busy as my father was, he could still be a part of all that and take my mom out to rub elbows with people like Sonny and Cheer and Robert Redford in the evenings… Why is it so hard for parents now to guide their children without the government stepping in to make new laws?

(My brother, my sister, my dad and me – picture was taken by my mom)

Family picnic in the 70's

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