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Karen Olson, Fargo, Published January 20 2014

Letter: Here is what ‘tougher’ means

When I was a kid, parents were tougher. They didn’t squawk about school being canceled when there was a blizzard warning. Sure, they were inconvenienced. But they knew raising kids was an inconvenience. They just took it. Oh, yeah.

And to those of you who are saying that “we were tougher” when we were kids: We sure were. We were born to moms who sometimes drank and smoked when they were pregnant with us. We were driven around by dads who might have had a few drinks before getting behind the wheel. Nobody thought much about that as long as you didn’t fall down. No child restraints or seat belts in the cars either. We played in the streets, chasing after the mosquito control truck spraying for skeeters. In the early days, that was DDT they were spraying. We were spanked, and our teachers could, and sometimes did, hit us. Made us tough.

Maybe we know more today. I don’t want to see little kids walking to school in 40 mph winds or waiting outside for the bus. I don’t want to see them driven to school when the Department of Transportation advises “no travel.” I don’t want to see teenagers, some of whom are experiencing their first winter driving, driving themselves and their friends to school in these conditions. I don’t want to see little kids crossing icy streets when oncoming drivers have near-zero visibility.

Just think about how little it would take for you to wish they had called off school. A couple of tragedies? Just one?

I want to thank the school administrators for considering safety first and making tough decisions. You know you will be criticized no matter what you do. I don’t think you deserve that. I think you’re doing the best you can.

For the rest of us, maybe we got tough by listening to our dads when we complained and they responded, “Kwitcherbellyaching.”