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Babies can teach us a thing or two

With a whopping five-and-a-half-months of parenting under my belt, the life lessons just keep piling up.

Of course as my dentist Dr. Bruce Scarborough reminded me the other day as he paraphrased comedian Bill Cosby, “People with only one child aren’t really parents yet. You know exactly who broke the vase. No investigation needed.

“You know, I hope one day that as my kids get older they might come forward and tell me, remember that time when this happened? Yeah, I did that,” Scarborough said.

“I just have a lot of unanswered questions from their childhood years,” he said, just before he looked at me with a look that silently said, “It’s coming buddy, just wait.”

Of course he’s correct. We’ve gone from the early stage of simply worrying about whether baby Anna was eating enough or going to the bathroom enough to where now she’s beginning to develop a personality and seeks to constantly explore the world.

The most interesting thing to me is just how raw and unfiltered she is.

Her mind is like a good baseball umpire — she just calls things like she sees them, and the “call” is never in question. You can see what she thinks pretty much instantly.

If she doesn’t like something, she simply looks away.

If something or someone scares Anna, her bottom lip seems to inflate and pop out. If the bad thing backs away, the lip can deflate quickly. If not, it turns into a full-blown cry.

When she wants something, she’s vocal about it.

When she’s tired, she gets cranky.

When she’s happy, she giggles loudly and without abandon.

At some point, the modern socialization will begin to take over, and she’ll become less free-spirited, more conforming.

But wouldn’t it be interesting to consider what life would be like if none of us ever lost that selfish reaction to the world?

Consider just how much time and energy is wasted — completely wasted — in our elaborate attempts not to offend anyone.

What was at first mere politeness — “don’t make a fuss, it will be OK soon” — has turned into a society in which political correctness rules the day — even when it’s taken to an extreme.

Remember when it was perfectly OK to refer to the season we celebrate in December by its real name?

You can’t do that anymore.

Let’s call it the “holiday” season so as not to offend any non-Christians who might be listening.

It’s only one of a number of extremist, zero-tolerance policies to avoid offending anyone positions our society has taken.

Two 7-year-olds were suspended from school in a Suffolk, Va., in May for pretending that pencils were guns and shooting at one another.

The school’s no violence policy aimed to punish the two diminutive, pencil-wielding criminals. One has to wonder: Did they learn anything?

I cannot help but think that we’ve simply gone way too far in trying to keep everyone happy. Perhaps what we really need to do is simply poke out our lip when we’re upset and not be afraid to cry when something bothers us.

It might get noisy at times, but it would sure be nice to live in a world that seems a bit more real and a tad more genuine.


Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.