With reference to the article "Parents of the Young Are Pessimistic" {front page, Nov. 6}, perhaps the old adage that you can't have your cake and eat it too could well apply to many of today's working parents.

Back in the '50s when my husband and I were raising our four children, money was tight. Like most mothers, I stayed home. We had a small house, and in order to pay the mortgage I fed our family on $25 a week. No convenience foods, no store-bought cookies, and our only ''eating out'' would be a meal with a relative. Clothes shopping was for children only. Luckily, we lived in a neighborhood where friends passed on or loaned children's coats and snowsuits. We didn't have two cars or a color TV. We didn't go on vacations. But we were and still are a close-knit and happy family.

There is no way parents can impart a sense of values to their children if their lifestyle sends a different message. Bill Keane, the cartoonist, put it succinctly, ''What parents teach stays with you always. What they fail to teach can never be learned from others.''

Parents provide that important spark that lights the fire of enthusiasm in their children. The children can then go out and fight life's battles secure in the knowledge that no matter what happens the beacon of parental love and support is always there. TERESA BANYAS Keysville, Va.