More than 300 people celebrate Family Pride Night at Tyrone Schools

A program that started 15 years ago by Dr. Anthony Witham bared its fruits last week as the Tyrone School District celebrated Family Pride Night at the High School auditorium.
Witham, the founder of the American Family Institute is dedicated to bringing recognition and renewal to parents and teachers who are making a difference in the lives of children and students. Witham honored many parents with poems written by their children.
“Our mission is to remind the parents that the greatest gift to a child is the gift of time,” said Witham. “Many parents are living in a hurried lifestyle, working to make ends meet. Many parents love their children dearly, but fall into the trap of life. They get so busy that they fail to spend a little leisure time with them like playing a board game together.”
The American Family Institute works with more than 50 school districts across Pennsylvania.
“This program brings wonderful results,” said Witham. “I get many letters from parents saying what a difference this program has made in their lives. Many parents probably don’t believe that they are doing a good job raising their children. This one night where they are recognized for the time they spend with their kids does wonders for many parents.”
Tyrone superintendent Dr. William Miller was happy with the turnout for the recognition ceremony.
“The parent response to this program was overwhelming,” said Miller. “We believe that the parents are the most effective teacher in the life of a child. It is great to see the pride on the face of a parent when the poem is read about how their child feels about them. This program, “The Gift of Time”, helps bring a better connection between the child, the parent and the school.”
Witham enjoys seeing the results of the program.
“It is an incredible feeling standing beside these wonderful children as I read their poems that they write about their parents,” said Witham. “It is a privilege for me to be a liaison between the child and the parent. These poems remind the parent that they are a much better parent than they thought. Raising a child is about sacrifices. The giving never ends. This allows parents to stop for a moment and see how great they are. The kids give their parents an award, and it has helped many parents through down times.”
Witham has authored many books on parenting and teaching but believes that programs like this are better than any book that is written.
“Parents need to quit reading all the ‘how to parent’ books, including mine,” said Witham. “Their children say more in these poems than any parenting book will ever say.”
Witham’s Gift of Time program has been honored by the White House and Governor Schweiker’s office.
“Gov. Schweiker was always asking for a copy of the calendar that we produce,” said Witham. “I always try to recite this piece of information. You never spoil children by giving them too much love. You spoil them by giving things in place of us. Nobody can order you to be a good parent. I believe that every parent wants to be a loving parent. Many get trapped in the hurried world and miss the point that the greatest gift you can give to a child is time.”