Breakfast speaker provides important message for parents

“I’ve always enjoyed the ‘hometown’ kind of feel of Williamsport. Everybody knowing everybody,” Major League Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson told the Grand Slam breakfast of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce this past week. “There’s a great feeling about that.”

We couldn’t agree more. We’ve long viewed this area as a wonderful place to settle down, start businesses, raise families — and live. Indeed, a key selling point for the chamber long has been our high quality of life.

Sure, we have our problems — who doesn’t? But we don’t believe they are so great as to cancel out all that is good. Williamsport and this area, in general, have a lot of really positive attributes.

Our schools go beyond the basics and have solid athletics, art and music programs as well as a wide array of offerings that speak to varying interests of curious young minds.

Our environment provides opportunities for outdoor adventures from world-class hunting to trails for bicycling that are becoming even more connected to a river and wealth of waterways that feed into it and bind us all together.

And our people, well, they are the shining stars. They shine for the many ways they care for their fellow human beings. They shine for their commitment to all kinds of causes. They shine for their diligence in raising their children, which takes us to the other thing Johnson said that really struck a chord with us.

“Let your kids be kids.”

He encouraged parents to allow their children “to breathe” and to pursue what it is that calls to them.

“Parents want the best for their children, but my son didn’t want to pitch. He was in the shadow of me,” Johnson said.

There’s a message in that for any parent. This is a place where children have all sorts of opportunities, but it’s important to let them pursue the opportunities that call to them as individuals. Sure, we all have high hopes and dreams for our sons and daughters, but in the end, they will be better for discovering who they are by exploring their individual calling.