Celebrating Big Love on National Parents Day
In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed into law a unanimously adopted resolution from the U.S. Congress to establish National Parents Day. The new day of commemoration was designed to promote unconditional love and parental values for families across the United States. Bethany Village is home to many of incredible parents. Our residents shaped generations through some of America’s most historic highs and lows. It is an honor to work with men and women whose personal commitment to family has helped keep our nation great.
Today, as a way of recognizing all of our residents who took on the responsibility of parenting, we would like to share some advice from a pair of exemplary parents, Tom and Jean Long. The pair have been married for 46 years, as you will see, they have made an incredible commitment to parenting.
“Jean and I went on a blind date, and I fell on my rear end because I had never ice skated before,” recalls Tom, when asked how he met his wife. “Six months later we got married.”
Jean, whose first husband died in a plane crash, had three children. Tom still has a piece of paper from Jean’s oldest daughter giving them her approval to marry. It reads, “love at first sight, it’s OK.” Tom would later adopt all of Jean’s children, and the couple had two children of their own. That was just the beginning of their parenting adventure. Over the next two decades, the Tom and Jean, with help from their children, went on to foster over 40 children.
“Our kids were happy and we just wanted to share it with many other children,” Jean explains “Whenever we would get a new baby, all the kids in the neighborhood would come over and name it – they were all just part of the family from the very beginning.”
Tom and Jean worked with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ Office for Families and Children as well as Catholic Charities. Later, the pair would adopt one of their foster children through private adoption.
“When we went to church everybody looked up they wanted to see what are they carrying in now,” Tom jokes.
Over the years the Long family has grown to include 14 grandchildren and one great grandchild. The entire family visited Tom and Jean’s Bethany Village villa for Christmas. They are both amazed by how much has changed in parenting since they were raising a young family. What Jean calls the “old fashioned way,” is slowly being replaced by supermarket baby food in pouches. Tom points out that parents today just pull out their cell phones and check the Internet whenever they have questions. But, they agree that the most important aspects of parenting remain the just as they were 46 years ago.
“You just have to love them,” says Tom.
“They were loved and I see our own children sharing that same kind of love with their families,” says Jean.” It is good; it was worth every minute.”
Nation Parents day is celebrated each year on the fourth Sunday in July. Bethany Village and Graceworks Lutheran Services would like to extend our sincere thanks to parents everywhere in celebration of their commitment to the future. You shape the young people that shape the world, and the love you give them is a blessing to us all.