Mayor Rich Walker
Mayor Rich Walker

A Message from Mayor Rich Walker

The start of a new year carries with it the promise of good things and new beginnings. 

In a psychological turning of the mental calendar, we seek to do our part to contribute to that new beginning by making promises to ourselves.  But as you turn the page of your calendar, whether your psychological calendar or the one on your refrigerator, my hope for you is more than just a New Year’s resolution that may or may not be forgotten by March.   

My wife Catherine and I have five beautiful children, and raising them, more than anything else we will ever do, will be our imprint on the world.  No matter how long I serve as Mayor, no matter the successes  Catherine and I achieve personally or in our careers, raising our children will be our legacy.  And while from time to time I may confuse their names, one thing my kids never let me forget is that they are always listening.

There are plenty of teaching moments when we focus on providing a lesson to our children, and we make sure they are listening, but I always find it interesting when one of them repeats something that Catherine or I have said when we didn’t know they were listening.  And now we realize they’re always listening—which means we are always teaching.  

Children hear your grumbling under your breath when someone leaves the room.  They hear your narrative about the homeless person holding a cardboard sign.  Whether it’s a driver who accidentally cut you off, a waitress who made a mistake, or a neighbor asking for a favor that you don’t want to do, your kids hear it all.  They even hear your silence on issues that deserve comment.  They’re always learning because we’re always teaching.  

That eureka moment can be a bit of a game-changer.  It underscores the importance of always setting the right example, always being kind, always being compassionate and understanding, always trying to say the right thing, and always being the person you want your children to grow up to be.  That’s a tall order, but that’s what we signed on for.  It’s also likely to be the most rewarding thing parents ever experience.  That proud moment when you see your child has developed into an adult, the next generation being an improvement on the last.

If a community is the sum total of its people, it’s tough to think of a greater community service than sending your children into that community with the best set of character traits.  Traits they’ve taken on from those focused teaching moments and things they’ve picked up along the way.  But it’s vital that we remember parenting isn’t an ala carte proposition—do as I say, not as I do—it’s a full-time job because someone is always listening.     

If you would like to share your thoughts about parenting or perhaps share one of your listening experiences, I would love to hear from you.  I can be reached via e-mail at or cell phone at (973) 390-1453.  Of course, I am frequently available monthly at Parkland businesses and love to talk with residents there.  I encourage you to visit the City’s website and click on the social media icon that you prefer to ensure you stay informed on events and helpful information.

The Parkland City Commission is Mayor Rich Walker, Vice Mayor Bob Mayersohn, Commissioners Simeon Brier, Ken Cutler, and Jordan Isrow.

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