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MAKE UTAH MODEL FOR OTHER STATES

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The Jan. 13 issue of the Deseret News contained excellent information on ways to strengthen families. I very much appreciated the worthwhile advice printed therein.

On the editorial page, an article asked, "Is U.S. an illiterate nation?" This article stated that according to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Education, almost one-half of the adults in America have trouble making sense of a simple magazine article, interpreting a bus schedule or using a chart to find the proper kind of sandpaper for wood, etc.The end of the article stated that "in this TV age, Americans are not a reading society. If the country is to change, teachers have to send books home to be read, parents have to read those books to and with their children, and all people have to cultivate the art of reading. . . . "

This issue also printed the story about Gov. Mike Leavitt unveiling his anti-violence package, which he says targets violence at its source: homelessness, domestic violence, child abuse and a host of other social ills.

It calls for job training, inmate education, more prison beds and more law enforcement officers. The idea I really like is that he plans to focus on prevention. Two days later, a Deseret News editorial stated that Leavitt's "justice package" is just the start of long effort. The punch line in this article was contained in the last paragraph: "Ordinary citizens must work harder toward strengthening the moral underpinnings of society, in particular that most important societal unit of all - the family."

I do hope that all parents saved the valuable insert printed by the Utah Center for Families in Education, a cooperative effort of the Utah State Office of Education and Utah PTA contained in both Salt Lake daily newspapers.

The timely advice given to parents will help pupils immensely in becoming better educated. They listed nine basic building blocks of a solid educational foundation: adequate diet, safe child care, enough sleep, quiet room for study, clean clothing, limited TV viewing, good role models for younger children, proper discipline and self-esteem. Again the importance of the family is emphasized. "Families are the first and foremost source of learning."

I was also impressed with the news about the meeting held in Salt Lake City where the Rev. James Lawson, one of the men responsible for the truce between gangs in Los Angeles, was the speaker. He said, "To think as a nation, as parents, that we can get our children to live by morals that we ourselves don't live by is unrealistic." Lawson also said, "Children learn more by what they see us doing than what they hear us saying." He ended by calling for a moral revolution. "This nation needs a revolution in spiritual consciousness."

I pray that we will, as a society, try harder to make this a great nation. We can do it by strengthening our families. Let's make Utah a model for other states.

Helen Reinhold

Salt Lake City