The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

June 17, 2013

Swans provided insight into the art of parenting

An Editor's Notes

By Jim Raykie

---- — EDITOR’S NOTE: I wrote this column before the senseless deaths of the adult swans early Saturday morning. The column  is being published, as written, in their memory.

Our resident swans at Buhl Park make it look so easy, and so loving. I wish all children being raised in the 21st Century could get as much attention, guidance and devotion from their parents as the baby swans get from their mom and dad.

As I drive along Forker Boulevard near the Avalon Golf and Country Club, I get to see the swans two or three times a day – at least in the mornings and the afternoons on my way to and from The Herald.

While a refilled and rejuvenated Lake Julia provides a spacious home for them, they like to hang out in and around the two small ponds that protect the final green on the golf course.

Every year at this time, you rarely see mom and dad without their cygnets, protecting them and in a primal way, teaching them about life. Mom and dad go, and the babies follow.  

When they’re old enough to be on their own, they’ll leave their mom and dad, who next year will have a new group of cygnets to raise. Last year, they had five; this year, only two. But I think you get my point.

The cygnets have both a mom and dad helping to raise them, unlike many of today’s family situations – in which some of our children are raised by only one parent, and in some cases, no parents, only a grandmother, a grandfather or another sibling.

The cygnets don’t stray very far from the watchful eyes of their parents, and when they do, they’re quickly cut off and shooed back to where they are supposed to be (something like me when I was a kid).

But most of the time they waddle along behind mom and dad as they either roam around the golf course, dangerously cross Forker Boulevard, or return to Lake Julia for an extended swim.

Of course, I realize that human beings are unlike dogs, cats and swans for that matter, but elements of love, guidance and caring for youth apply nonetheless.

Every day, I drive by knowing that barring a tragedy, the cygnets will grow into responsible adults and fly away for a life on their own when they’re ready.

Every day, when I see the stately swans and their babies, I wish that a life for humans could be as simple, knowing how much better the world and its people would be.

Every day, I’m amazed at the parenting lessons that can be learned from a pair of swans and their babies as they romp around and learn the rules of life at Buhl Park.

Brightening up the corner

It’s been almost a year since we reinstituted publication of “Brighten Up the Corner,” and the response from Herald readers has been enjoyable – for the most part.

I say “for the most part” because while we encourage submissions for publication, we reserve the right to toss some of the submissions in the trash can or in the deleted file. Why?

Well, we’ve received some that aren’t funny. We’ve received others that aren’t fit for publication in a family newspaper.

Like letters to the editor, I appreciate the effort of readers to submit their opinions. We try to use most of them. In the same vein, we try to use most of the submissions for “Brighten Up the Corner” as well. But we can’t print them all, and hopefully, you won’t hold that against us.

Jim Raykie is the executive editor of The Herald and writes this column on Mondays.