APRIL 21, 1997

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Community needs to care a little more

value of caring When considering family, Christopher Reeve said, "We are all family, and we all have value." But what about those of us who feel alone and less valued? Now, more than ever, teenagers face challenges which cause them to feel they are a less valued, less vital part of their family or community.
   Therefore, how do we as a community and as individuals learn to better demonstrate how much we value those who are struggling? How do we show them the rich measure of their lives? How do we help those who appear to be struggling to remember who they are?
   Some of us live a long, rich life. Others must live a lifetime in far fewer years before dying of a broken heart through suicide. Tragically, those who lost heart and hope and felt so little a value of their own lives and their own families may profoundly enrich and affect the lives of those who loved them, and even those who do not.
   It is difficult to determine the lethality of depression, but if we all cared a little more for those who appeared to feel less vital a part of our community, our family, or our circle of friends, maybe we could prevent one more heart from breaking and in so doing discover our own real value ... to love one another.

Pamela Smith, marriage & family therapist, Woodinville