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DemocratandChronicle .com Friday,October23,2015 Page13A Halloween is just around the corner, which m eans we’re on the cusp of another season of anxi- e ty and misery for too many children of divorce. For the past few years, I’ve tried to time this column for right before Thanksgiving, but an increasing number of divorce lawyers tell me that’s too late. We should start talking about w ho comes first — hint: they’re always younger and usually shorter than the squabbling grown-ups —around Halloween, which is often the trigger date for holiday visitation negotiations. The same two parents who used to argue over which of them would have to traipse through the neighborhood with the kids for trick-or-treating now go to the mat over who gets to deprive whom of even a glimpse of their children’s costumes. Think of it as the warmup r ound for the all-out war to come over Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, K wanzaa and New Year’s. And as any divorce lawyer can tell you, the more cherished the holiday t radition the more vulnerable it is to r evenge parenting. Iam not referring to parents whose p rimary concerns begin and end with their children’s well-being. Bless them, every last one of them, for they shall know their children’s love and grat- i tude for the rest of their days. My concern is for children whose parents tend to be either newly sep- a rated or eternally embattled. Aside from the dangerous parent, the only t hing worse for a child than a parent reeling from the fresh wounds of a broken vow is one who has chosen to live out the rest of his or her life brandishing old injuries. In either drama, the worst roles always fall to the children. P rimary parents can get territorial, acting as if they are doling out a favor or two rather than abiding by a court order. Non-primary parents can succumb to a bottomless pit of despair, looking for slights that don’t exist. In both instances, the parents make the children feel responsible for the supposed grown-ups’ self-esteem. You know how frustrating it can be to try to calm an adult who doesn’t want to feel better? Now imagine trying to do that w hen you’re 6. All the while, children watch and l earn. Boy, do they learn. In time, they will figure out who lied and who didn’t —and who was and wasn’t willing to p ut them first. There’s no redo for that. T hey also absorb the harshest lessons of the marriage their parents modeled. G ood people can fall out of love. Good e ach of us escorted by two grown children. The way we see it, we have four children, four children-in-law and four grandchildren, with a fifth on the way. The only time we have to consider the particulars is when someone outside our family attempts to sort our children like poker chips. There is no faster route to my bad side than to ask m e which grandchildren are “really” mine. Immediately, those offenders’ n ames go into that file folder in my head titled “What Is Wrong With People?” M ost children want to love every- b ody in their family, and they rely on us adults to show them how. We are t heir role models, always. parents contain the damage so their children can grow into adults with a fighting chance for happiness. A special request on behalf of all the children too afraid to ask: Please take them holiday shopping for the ex- s pouse, who will never be their ex- parent. I ’ve seen this heartbreak play out time and again. Children want to be part of the gift giving, too. If you can’t bring yourself to help them make a present and you can’t be trusted to shop with them unless you travel with your own exorcist, ask a friend or rela- t ive to do it. I’ve lived long enough to know there is yet another good reason to raise your children in a bitter-free zone: One day, you will want to know your children’s children. There is nothing like falling in love with your grandchildren. Just when you think you’ve seen and felt it all, you discover a whole chunk of your heart that was hibernating until they showed up. L ast weekend, my husband and I welcomed our fourth grandchild. She is p erfect because she is ours — you know how that goes — and it would never occur to either of us to distin- g uish our relationship to her by blood- l ine. We love her mother and her father, and now we love her. W e married almost 12 years ago, Take a holiday from divorce antics We chose our syndicated columnists to p resent a diverse range of perspectives over the course of each week. Every day, we will offer a different viewpoint from o ne of these writers: Esther Cepeda Michael Gerson Charles Krauthammer Dana Milbank Betsy McCaughey L eonard Pitts Connie Schultz Cal Thomas CONNIE SCHULTZ COMMENTARY We checked out the competition, and it is obvious to us. The Finger Lakes Regionshould be one of the winners in our state’s version of The Hunger Games . T here are six other regions vying for three $500 million awards in the governor’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative competition. Some of the regions’ plans, like that of the Finger Lakes, have auspicious-sounding names: CNY Rising, Sparking Transformation, Ignite. Most bemoan the current economic state of their communities, while also trying to show that they are on the cusp of something better. S ome regions have similar ambitions to those of the Finger Lakes. For instance, we are pitching agriculture and food production as an industry p illar, and Mohawk Valley, the Southern Tier and Central New York are a lso calling for investments in agribusiness, food and food safety. Every region points to some type of technological strength that could serve as a j umping-off point. We propose leveraging our strengths in optics, photon- ics and imaging, while others are flaunting assets such as biotechnology, a erospace, precision-sensing and cyber security. The North Country has the biggest dream: bring the Olympics back to New York. T he Mid-Hudson is trying to make itself stand out as a broken bridge between the “growth areas of New York City and the Capital Region,” w hile the Capital Region is making bold promises to attract and retain 10,000 new residents and add 40,000 new jobs over the next five years. T here are many claims for Cuomo administration officials to analyze o ver the next month or so, as they determine who the winners will be. Rochester is a standout for several reasons. L ed by Wegmans CEO Danny Wegman and University of Rochester President Joel Seligman, the Finger Lakes region has arguably developed o ne of the three most detailed plans. It rigidly follows the Upstate Revitalization Initiative’s call to address specific concepts, and favors substance over hyperbole. T he region appears to have been the most successful at getting the community engaged in the process. The visions set forth build on plans t he community is already working toward and investing in — with federal, state and private dollars — which adheres to the governor’s call for regions to “be yourself.” The plan feels real; it is optimistic without c rossing too far over into pie-in-the-sky territory. It is aligned with the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative, which gives us an advantage in helping make sure all members of our community are part of this potential economic transformation. A nd, while we recently chided those involved with Rochester photon- i cs for their embarrassing lack of unity, that is not our view when it c omes to the development and overall implementation of the Upstate Revitalization Initiative plan. Over the past few months, we witnessed a high level of collaboration, inclusion and transparency. The Finger Lakes proposal can, and should, be a winner. Finger Lakes plan a winner When compared to other regions, our plan stands out in upstate competition Come on, compromise Our nation’s political world seems to be coming apart at the seams. The r efusal to compromise for the good of the group is precisely the behavior of little preschool tyrants who refuse to share their toys. Isn’t this behavior something we try to help our children o vercome? Isn’t adulthood a stage of l ife where we learn to manage our desires; acknowledging that we can’t have everything we want when we want it? Ilong for the days when adults like T ip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan ran the c ountry. As a Republican, as the slivers of bamboo are slipped under my fingernails, I’m forced to admit that sometimes the Democrats have a good idea. DAN MOROTINI CANANDAIGUA, ONTARIO COUNTY COLA decision disappointing Iam a retired senior citizen and I a m disappointed over the decision to not give an increase in Social Security benefits in 2016. I also am bewildered by the reasoning behind this. In the upcoming year I have been notified that my medical insurance premiums w ill be increasing, along with my dental, homeowners insurance, cable and other utilities. Along with the tax increases and p rice of groceries and other services I cannot understand how falling gas prices balance out these increases. So, f or the government officials who make these decisions, I only have one question: What planet are you living on? Please tell me so I can sell my house and relocate! CHRIS NUCI IRONDEQUOIT Some additional art history Here’s a complementary story to J eff Spevak’s WPA Art Treasure (Oct. 1 3) on the current Memorial Art Gallery exhibit, Art for the People: Carl W. P eters and the Rochester WPA Murals. While 12 of Peters’ 14 WPA murals still e xist, a similar fate did not occur for his contemporary, Arshile Gorky, a father of the Abstract Expressionism school. During the same period, under WPA s ponsorship, Gorky created 10 panels o n the theme of aviation for the Newark (NJ) Airport Administration Building. The War Department took control of the Newark Airport in 1942; the panels disappeared. Two of the canvas p anels ( Aerial Map; Mechanics of Fly- i ng) were re-discovered in 1973 under 14 layers of paint. From June 29-Aug. 19, 1979, the retrieved Gorky panels were the subject of an exhibit at the Memorial Art Gall ery: Murals Without Walls: Arshile G orky’s Aviation Murals Rediscovered. MAX M. BOUDAKIAN EAST ROCHESTER Who you pray to is not the issue To the writer of “Why do atheists bother?”: Most nonbelievers are not concerned with what or who you worship and pray to. What they strongly and rightly object to is the never end- i ng pressure to force those beliefs on others through our schools and governments. In your last paragraph, you conclude t hat life “all adds up to zero” if one does not believe in an invisible deity in the sky.......How sad! ED AUSTIN ALBION, ORLEANS COUNTY LETTERS TO THE EDITOR CARTOONISTS’ VIEW Opinion blogs.democratandchronicle.com/editorial/ Twitter.com/dandc_opinion Facebook.com/DandCopinion “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances.” FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION EDITORIAL BOARD Michael G. Kane, President and Publisher Karen M. Magnuson, Editor & Vice President/News Julie J. Philipp, Senior Engagement Editor Sheila Rayam, Community Engagement Editor Len LaCara,Erica Bryant Anna Valeria Iseman and Jim Ryan Jr. Community Members CONNECT WITH US All submissions must include your name,address and daytime telephone number. Limit letters to fewer than 150 words; essays to 450 words. Readers are limited to one published letter every 30 days. Send to Letters to the Editor,Democrat and Chronicle,55 Exchange Blvd.,Rochester NY 14614; e mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Call (585) 258-2250. Fax: (585) 258-2356. All letters and essays chosen for publication are subject to editing for length,clarity and accuracy.