Event good reminder of men’s impact on kids’ lives

Bartholomew County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Abner, left, plays a game with Brenyn Burton, 5, during a Men in the Life of Kids event at Human Services, Inc., in Clifford, Ind., Tuesday, March 20, 2018. The Head Start and Early Head Start programs invited male role models from the community to come in and interact with the children. Mike Wolanin | The Republic

Of the things that are important in a child’s life, parents top the list. Having a mother and father who provide love, comfort, support and guidance makes a big difference.

However, not all families have such structure. Many are single-parent homes, often led by the mother. The lack of a father’s regular presence can impact a child’s behavior in the classroom, for example, some educators say.

The importance of having not just an adult woman but also an adult man in a child’s life was reiterated March 20 during a Men in the Life of Kids event at Human Services Inc. in Clifford.

Men from the Bartholomew County community, of varying ages and careers, interacted with children enrolled in the Early Head Start and Head Start programs, which help prepare children from low-income families for kindergarten.

The children and men played in the Human Services gymnasium, made crafts, played with toys and read books. Some of the boys enjoyed climbing all over one of the male volunteers for a little rambunctious play.

Teachers said the presence of the men changed the overall environment for the children, allowed children to see men in different roles, helped some of the children calm down and contributed to a fun time.

Both the male and female parent plays a huge role in the life of a child. The Men in the Life of Kids event by Human Services Inc. was a good reminder of that, and a great idea worth repeating.