Learning by example: How will you celebrate National Parents’ Day?

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer

National Parents’ Day (July 24, 2022) isn’t one of the most recognizable holidays in the United States, but it has been celebrated since 1994. That’s when President Clinton signed a congressional resolution to “recognize, uplift and support the role of parents in the rearing of children.” It’s been held annually on the fourth Sunday of July ever since.

Really?

Having been a proud parent for 55 years, would you like to know how many times we’ve been wished “Happy Parents’ Day?” Me too. I don’t think ever. 

So, maybe Parents’ Day is a day to wish each other congratulations for everything you’ve done well over the years. I can get into that.

A bit of background

Growing up as an only child, I had only one perspective on my parents’ parenting skills. Conversely, my wife was one of 11, and grew up with an entirely different set of experiences. Fortunately, being the second oldest in her family, she learned all the skills I never did about taking charge of and caring for youngsters. That bode well for our children, and I credit her for keeping our family on the straight and narrow.

When we were expecting our first child, I took Parenting 101 at Cuyahoga Community College, and the only thing I recall but did try to live by was that “children learn by example.”

Jim Henson, of Muppets fame, probably said it better:  “The attitude you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from more than what you tell them. They don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”

Did it work?

Having been a blood donor for years now, as our children got older, they were aware of my blood donations, and as they entered college, a majority donated as well. At a recent boy’s night out with my boys and grandsons, I polled the table and was delighted to find out that most of my grandchildren, 17 and over, are donors as well. As their younger siblings become of age to donate, I’d expect the trend to continue.

Siblings Greg and Sarah Whitkoski recently donated blood together at Lakewood High School.

Hopefully, you are a donor (but if not, now’s not too late to start.) Next time you donate, consider coaxing your teen to come along. They can donate in many states at 16 with parental consent, assuming they meet certain height and weight restrictions. Learn more here about special student guidelines.

Even if they don’t come along, make them aware of why donating is important to you. I didn’t realize its impact on my family until years later. Happily, I didn’t have to tell them to do it – they just grew up doing what I did. That’s thanks enough for Parents’ Day.

And I can’t think of a better tradition for Parents’ Day than giving blood regularly.  Start here by finding a blood drive close to you.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer