Barbara (Bancroft) Symanski writes book for parents 2010.08.25

Written by David Green.

barbarasymanski.jpgBy DAVID GREEN

When Barbara (Bancroft) Symanski wrapped up a long career in education as a teacher and administrator, she knew she had something that many young parents lacked: Years of watching children and learning how to interact with them.

“After I retired,” Symanski said, “I asked ‘What next?’ I realized that parents have a difficult job raising children in today’s world and through my observations and experiences, I wanted to share ideas that I believe could help them.”

She started writing down those ideas and soon a book began to emerge. She called it “101 Ways to be a Good Parent.”

Writing the book turned out to be just the beginning, she discovered.

 “After I finished writing, it took four years of presenting and rewriting before I had the published book in my hands.”

By that time a new title was assigned: “Successful Children: Step by Step, One Teacher’s Viewpoint.”

After graduating from Morenci High School, Symanski earned a teaching degree from Michigan State University. She taught in Birmingham and Detroit, then left Michigan and taught in Catlin, Ill. She ended her career back in Michigan, but on the west side of the state in Grand Rapids.

Along the way she married another Morenci graduate, Paul Symanski.

During her 30-year teaching career—and as the parent of three children—she noted changes in children and families that make parenting an increasingly challenging job.

“Our children need help,” she starts off in her book’s introduction. “I see children who have difficulty attending [school], who are less respective to authority and to each other, and who lack motivation and self-discipline.”

Perhaps she could have started off by writing, “Parents need help.” It’s parents who serve as a child’s most important teacher, she writes, and it’s parents who must deal with problems mentioned above.

Form a bond with your children, she starts off, to place them in a position to learn from you.

Her former list of 101 ways to be a good parent are arranged in 20 chapters, covering general topics including organization, manners, health and safety, plus more specific themes such as dealing with all the electronic gadgets that seem to be taking over people’s lives.

School topics include communications with school personnel, homework and bullies, but most chapters touch at least indirectly on school life. Ideas about respect, responsibility, appreciation and moral development all provide parents with suggestions for guiding children through a successful school experience.

“We were fortunate to grow up in a small town like Morenci,” Symanski said. “Parenting was different then. Today parents have more complex issues facing them.”

Her book, she contends, offers parents practical and simple ways to deal with those issues.

• Additional information about the book is available at Symanski’s website,

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016