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I was a street cop for parts of four decades and saw plenty of crummy things. High on the list is something you might not expect: young kids, trudging their morning way to school with their coats unzipped in the cold, shoes untied.

Worse: the same kids routinely popping into the 7-11 for their breakfast since this staple of easy convenience stood hard by the elementary school. Yeah – this image bothered me as much as any over the long years of police work and some parents somewhere ought to have been ashamed.

If breakfast is the most important meal — for the usual and long-established nutritional reasons — then some version of family breakfast should trump the other two, lunch and dinner.

It needn’t be perfect or a lesson in etiquette. It needn’t take very long. If you have to, Mom and Dad, get up a scant quarter hour earlier to make the plan achievable. What better time for a family to go over the day than at the beginning of it.

This kind of commitment to one’s family seems easy during the how-was-your-day portion of the evening; less so in the morning. Nevertheless, it can happen with a bit of parental effort whether the child walks, rides or parachutes into their school.

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Deliberations at the breakfast table can determine the decisions behind the homeroom desk. I thought at the time that the last person those little kids saw before the bell rang shouldn’t have been the cashier next to the cigarettes and Lotto machine.

I answered tens of thousands of police calls and never once interrupted a meal, a wry observation that speaks for itself. This advice is hard on parents and that’s OK.

We adults owe that to the young, to properly discharge them into their day with purpose and direction.

Shakespeare’s timeless description of the school boy with satchel and morning face, “creeping like snail unwillingly to school” may still apply to our reluctant students — but it’s up to the modern parent to keep them from a detour into the 7-11 on their way.

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This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Joe Lauck is city of Valparaiso code enforcement officer.

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