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Appreciating Parents

Honoring Mothers and Fathers

Jay shares thoughts on the importance of parents and how they are so worthy of our deepest appreciation.

In a child’s life, there is nothing more important than a loving set of parents. Mothers and fathers who care deeply about their child’s well-being, their development, their futures – in short, for their lives. In that context, it’s easy to see how the well-being of our nation and the future of America is dependent upon our parents. Those tireless souls who work - day and night - to provide the very best lives they can for the next generation of Americans. At this time of year, it is important that we take a moment to honor and appreciate our parents!

This weekend, we celebrate Mother’s Day, and in just a few short weeks, we’ll be celebrating Father’s Day. These two days on the calendar mark an important celebration of the individuals who helped ground us, feed us, give us love, and nurture us so that we have all the tools necessary to face the world when we leave home. However, I find it’s often not until later in life that we actually realize how much sacrifice our parents made to get us on our own two feet. When we’re younger, we tend to take our parents for granted. We may not truly understand or recognize the true extent of their love for us, looking at our relationship with them as commonplace and expected, rather than with gratitude and appreciation.

Growing up is a tough task for anyone. Faced with questions about who we are, how the world works, and what we want to do with our lives necessarily puts challenges in front of us we must navigate. Yet it’s with the support of our parents that we are able to do so, even though we might not have been able to see it at the time.

A story was recently shared with me about a young man who had a contentious relationship with both his parents growing up, to the extent that he briefly left home when he was in high school. Yet as he found himself on his own, he began to realize the support his parents had given him throughout his life truly came from a place of love. Ultimately, they worked through their issues, his parents understanding his needs as a young adult beginning to navigate the world, while he appreciated the perspective and support, they provided him. Now an adult with his own family on the way, he shared with me that, “I’d never been more grateful for my parents than in that moment when I decided to come home. And to this day, they’re not just my parents, but my best friends”.

Now, this is obviously just one story out of so many about the incredible challenges as well as the importance of the relationships between parents and their children. Yet it highlights how often we may not know how much our parents mean to us or have sacrificed for us until we no longer have them. To go one step further, it underlines the importance of taking a moment to critically reflect on our relationship with our parents and, even in the most contentious cases, find room for forgiveness and love, and through forgiveness and love, you’ll likely find gratitude. The point is though, it’s likely that our parents deserve appreciation more than we may give them credit for, and this weekend, and during Father’s Day weekend, take a minute to truly reflect and honor what they’ve done to help get you to where you are today.

Celebrating Adoptive Parents - Giving Vulnerable Children a Chance

Here’s an interesting question: Babe Ruth, Steve Jobs, Marilyn Monroe, and Gerald Ford. Four names we all know well who have impacted generations in one form or another. What do they all have in common?

They were adopted! Some adopted by extended family members, some by stepparents and some even by complete strangers – all of whom, however, wanted to be there for these children. I mention this as in May and June we celebrate Mother’s and Father's Day, and as we do so, let's make sure we provide a special recognition for those who have chosen to be adoptive parents.

We all know people who have taken that step to become a child’s parent. Thanks to social media we are blessed to share in the joy seen when a family joins together via adoption. Like so many of you, Karen and I have close friends who were either adopted at a young age or have gone on to give children a wonderful life by adopting and welcoming them into their homes. It truly is the greatest act of kindness and devotion to seeing that our children succeed in life.

According to an interesting article compiled by the Adoption Choices of Colorado, 9 out of 10 adoptees experience positive life outcomes as a result of their adoption. The article went out to highlight how nearly 70 percent of adopted children do well in school, are highly engaged in their studies, and participate in their schools because of the strong home support they receive. Speaking of the home, adoptive children who eat with their families at the dinner table actually have a significantly reduced chance of experimenting with or using drugs because they have a stable home environment. Adoptive families create a chance, an opportunity, a place for compassion, and an environment of support.

These foundations of love and support for our most vulnerable children are truly making an impact in their lives. So, I encourage all of you, the next time you see a post about a recent adoption on Facebook, not only give it a like, but post a comment expressing how happy you are for those individuals and the bright future the child has in front of them. To all those families who have extended their arms and welcomed a child into their home, kudos to you and love and happiness for you all. Who knows, you could be raising the next tech giant or President of the United States!

NH Town Names – Where Did They Come From?

What's in a name? We name everything from our children to our pets and everything in between! And most of the time we try to give them a special meaning with the name we choose. But have you ever thought about why your town has its particular name or what if over time, that name has changed?

New Hampshire has 221 towns, 13 cities, and 25 unincorporated places in the modern era. But not all of the names are original, and not all of the towns existed in the colonial era and on the flipside, some towns have disappeared over time.

At the beginning of the colonial period most towns were named after people or other existing locations – especially places in England. Some started out just as numbered locations for people to settle in. However, over time, particularly post the American Revolution, many of these towns changed their names from the ones that were given on the charter granted by King-appointed-Governors in the 1700s.

For example, Lempster, New Hampshire was originally chartered by Governor Belcher with a number back when New Hampshire was a part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and it was then known only as “Number Nine.” In 1761, the town was renamed after Sir Thomas Fermor of Lempster, a contraction of Leominster in Northamptonshire, England.

A number of the towns in the state were simply named after friends in England – friends of both Governors Benning Wentworth and John Wentworth, and of the estates that those friends owned.

It was after the American Revolution that many towns started to be renamed, most notably Stark and Washington, New Hampshire. The town of Stark was named Percy in 1774, until 1832 when it was named in honor of the famous General John Stark. Washington was initially known as New Concord, after Concord, Massachusetts, until 1767, when it was renamed Camden to honor the Baron of Camden in England. In 1776, the town changed yet again to Washington after General George Washington and was one of the first towns in the nation to do so!

And our ‘Queen City’ - First called Old Harry’s Town, then chartered as Derryfield by Governor Benning Wentworth long before becoming the largest city in New Hampshire, Manchester also had several name changes. The name change was suggested by a veteran of the Revolutionary War, Sam Blodgett, after he visited England and saw all the barges on the canals in Manchester, England. Coming back home to Derryfield, Blodgett created the first canal on the Merrimack

The town of Franklin was incorporated in 1828, as a town comprising parts of Salisbury, Andover, Sanbornton, and Northfield. And, of course, was named after none other than one of our most famous founding fathers - Benjamin Franklin.

There are many other towns that have had their names changed as well with each name honoring something, or someone deserving of respect. Time will tell who the next town will be on the list of names changed!

Positive Profile of the Week: Stephanie Lesperance

This week we are delighted to highlight a star contributor to education in New Hampshire – Stephanie Lesperance.

Stephanie lives in Henniker, NH and is a woman whose passion for higher education and paving the way for the next generation is rivaled by few here in the Granite State. She sits on so many boards and participates in so many great organizations that to list them all would occupy the entire profile. However, her main work revolves around New England College and ensuring that low-income families have access to educational opportunities. A college degree is often viewed as a lifetime achievement that many people feel for financial reasons is out of their grasp. Stephanie works tirelessly to lower those barriers and open up these opportunities for everyone.

Today, Stephanie serves as Chief Strategy Officer at Campus Compact for NH and NH College and University Council where she leads in setting goals, strategy development and ensuring successful outcomes for the organization. With a Doctorate in Education from New England College, Stephanie is well equipped to lead these efforts.

While doing all this, she is also mother to a wonderful daughter, Grace, along with her husband, Dr. Wayne Lesperance, my great friend, who serves as Provost at New England College. Doing so much good for so many! Thank you, Stephanie, for all you do!

Quotes of the Week: Appreciating Parents

“Parents are the ultimate role models for children. Every word, movement and action has an effect. No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than the parent.”

Bob Keeshan, Captain Kangaroo

“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child's success is the positive involvement of parents.”

Jane D. Hull

“Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence.”


“One of the greatest titles in the world is parent, and one of the biggest blessings in the world is to have parents to call mom and dad.”

Jim DeMint

“We never know the love of a parent till we become parents ourselves.”

Henry Ward Beecher


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