In case you haven't noticed, we have been running a lot of photographs and stories about youngsters recently. From toddlers right up through high school, they have dominated the news. And that's a good thing.

Take today, for instance. The entire student body at the Penn Kidder Campus of the Jim Thorpe Area School District turned out recently, and with all the love and excitement they could muster, bid a fond farewell to one of their favorite teachers, first grade mentor Ralph Clay, who will be leaving soon to serve for the next year with the Naval Reserve in war-torn Afghanistan.

The students filled the school's gymnasium, some made signs, and Clay was greeted by shouts and cheers by everyone present. It was the grand sendoff for a man who is leaving his own young family to serve his country.

For the Penn Kidder students, we're sure there has been much classroom discussion about Clay's deployment – where he's going, how long he's going to be there, why there are American men and women just like him risking their lives for their country. It's an ongoing history lesson, one that young and old alike can learn from.

In Monday's TIMES NEWS there was another story involving children. These were the youngsters who attend the Children and Curious Kids Play and Learn Place in Lehighton. It's a day care where values are being taught at an early age. The youngsters collected more than 200 food items, packed them and transported them to the Lehighton Food Pantry. The goods gathered by the children will go to feed the needy, those who are less fortunate.

What lesson does a three or four-year-old take from such an undertaking? How about the spirit of generosity, the helping of one's fellow man? Again, it's a lesson that can be taught at any age, the younger the better.

We have also published many photos of area Easter Egg hunts being staged by various communities and organizations throughout the area. It's one of the fun times of the Easter season, hundreds of children running through a field or park, searching for the colored eggs to fill their baskets with Easter goodies. The smiling faces tell it all.

There's are also lessons to be learned here. The gift of sharing often comes into play, and just by the huge number of egg hunts that have been organized, this shows that parents and other adults aren't hesitant to take time from their busy schedules to organize these events, and to share the joy of the season with the young.

Easter is a solemn, holy time of the year. It coincides with the beginning of spring to bring new life and spirit into our lives. It's also a good time to instill values into the minds and hearts of our young people. And, as evidenced in some of the stories that have found their way into the pages of The TIMES NEWS in recent days, those goals are being reached.

Bob Urban

rurban@tnonline.com