Spend time with your children

Published 6:00 am Sunday, September 20, 2015

I watched, as many of you also did, in fright Monday as Delta State University was placed on lockdown with an apparent shooter on campus. I have relatives working at Delta State, and all I could do was think about them and the anguish they must be experiencing. Many parents from Oxford whose children attend Delta State and others with relatives there were dealing with the same anxiety and frustration.

As the scene on television progressed, students were being escorted out of buildings, with their hands in the air, walking to safety. This scene was eerily similar to what happened recently at Mississippi State University. Instead of these students being in classrooms learning, they were in lockdown fearing for their lives.

With social media as active as it is today, communication is so much easier and parents could more than likely get in touch with their children to make sure they were safe. Growing up, my generation had no cellphones, video games or the basic gadgets that kids have at their disposal today. We played outside until dark and made up our own games to keep ourselves amused during the summer months. Only when Mom finally yelled that supper was ready would we ever go inside.

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Parents worry about their children nonstop. I visit with my mom every night, and her last words to me as I’m going out the door are that she loves me and for me to be careful. At 55 years of age, some things never change and, as I get older, I understand how a parent always fears for the worst. No parent ever wants to get a late-night call that something has happened.

A statistic from a survey of Bereaved Parents conducted by NFO Research is something no parent wants to hear: 19 percent of Americans will lose a child. This includes deaths from miscarriage and the death of an adult child. Twenty-two percent of Americans will deal with the loss of a sibling during their lifetime. This means each year more than 100,000 parents will deal with the loss of a child.

Having watched my parents lose a son, I can tell you my parents have never gotten over that heartache. They remain strong in their faith, even though I know they questioned why this happened. The pain I felt losing a brother paled in comparison to what they were feeling. Somehow though, life moved on for my family after losing Dan.

Even today, my parents at 83 and 84 years old never stop thinking about Dan. Their faith lets them know they will be reunited again with him one day.

I see so many parents today talk about how they have no time for themselves and their kids are on the go, playing so many different sports or being involved in other extracurricular activities. Having older children, I can tell you how fast those days of early childhood fly by. Before you realize it, your children are grown.

Enjoy every moment you can with your children and create those memories that will last a lifetime. Our children are our lives.

Tim Phillips is the publisher of the Oxford EAGLE. Contact him at tim.phillips@oxfordeagle.com.