What does a kiss mean to you? In our home, a kiss always meant love and appreciation.


Over the years, I’ve used kisses for other purposes. May I share one with you?


I had a very wise friend once tell me to kiss my children goodnight every night.


I had been given the same direction by my own mother, so I was doing OK.


However, this mom had an additional purpose for the kiss.


This mom told me, when she kissed her boys or girls good night, she could most always tell what they had done that evening. She said she could smell their breath. As parents, we have to use every method we can to keep our kids straight.


In the later years, with my last child in high school, I became pretty brazen with him and his friends. Many times, I approached my son and his friends and asked them to let me smell their breath or I might kiss them.


I only ever had to kiss one of his friends on the cheek, and he nearly passed out.


For over 20 years, I attended sports assemblies for my children where an athlete’s code of conduct was presented. Quite frankly, schools wouldn’t have to present or enforce rules if we parents did our job.


It never came easy around our home. As I’ve said before, I’ve seen it all, done it all and smelled it all. Let me step back in time.


When my kids were little, I used to tell them the story of Creed Haymond. Even today, most of them could probably repeat the story, word for word.


Creed was an incredible runner who ran track at the University of Pennsylvania. Creed was so liked by his teammates that he was chosen team captain.


It was May of 1919 and time for Creed’s team to travel to Harvard for the national championship. Over 1,700 athletes were to compete in the largest college track meet in the country.


Newspapers and coaches said the Pennsylvania team would easily win the national championship.


The night before the final races, Creed’s coach brought him a glass of wine. He told Creed that he was having all his boys drink a little wine.


The coach informed Creed that he was concerned. He said that Creed did not run as well as he could have that day. He asked Creed to drink so he could do his best in the morning.


Creed respected his coach. However, he would not drink.


The coach was a little angry. He repeated to Creed that he knew what was good for him. He reminded Creed that 14,000 students expected him to win.


Coach told Creed that if he failed, they would all lose.


Creed offered to stay out of the race, but he repeated to his coach again that he would not drink.


The discussion went on and Creed’s final words were, “I will not drink.”


Creed walked away fearful that he would do horribly and lose.


The next morning, Coach stopped by Creed’s room and asked him how he was feeling. Creed was feeling fine.


Then, the coach informed Creed that all his players were sick.


That day, while the rest of the team was sick, Creed won the 100-yard and he broke the world record time for the 220-yard race


The moral of this story is when the day has ended, show your child love and appreciation.


Let this be your “creed.” Always kiss them goodnight.


Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County's Family Week Foundation. Email her at Director@jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org.