Simone Biles, a champion gymnast, is poised to win gold at the Olympics. The unsung heroes in her story—like those of so many children who achieve greatness in athletics, the arts or academia—are her parents. True, Simone showed an early talent. But her parents recognized that talent and nurtured it. Hard work, endless practice and focused determination to reach her goals were essential, but without the sacrifice, love and dedication of her parents, she would have had a much more difficult time on her path to greatness.
Foster families, often kin, help raise thousands of children every year in partnership with parents. Agencies like JCCA provide support and encouragement and, where necessary, crucial clinical intervention. We build on the strengths of our children—be they academic, artistic, athletic or strength of character. We engage and teach all our parents specifically how to improve how they parent. Nellie and Ron Biles had intuitive parenting instincts that were extraordinary.
Every child deserves to grow up in a home where they are loved and supported, and provided with all the safety and structure so many of us take for granted. Our foster families remind us, every day, that the act of welcoming a child into one’s home and nurturing that little person’s development is life-altering—for all involved. As Simone takes the podium to be applauded for all she has accomplished, we will simultaneously be cheering for all the parents who do for their children what Nellie and Ron have done for theirs.
Ronald E. Richter