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Superior upbringing not enough

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Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Sept. 14 was a date thousands of families across the land will never forget. And for reasons having nothing to do with the election, the economy, the Arab spring or the football fall. A baby was born to them.

One of these came into this world at 8 12 pounds with three mighty advantages: health, natural-born American citizenship and a married mother and father.

The latter 2-for-1 deal grows unaccountably rarer in our time. Yet anyone who is “all for the children” ought to be united on it as on no other issue, so basic is it to national prosperity.

It means that Baby Boy (not yet named) will have two adults to guide him. Against running into the street without looking both ways, for instance. Or hitting other kids in playgrounds and taking their toys (but to fight back if it's done to him).

Very important, too, to show respect for accredited older people: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors and police officers, while being extremely resistant to strangers offering candy.

This sort of Mom 'n' Pop training will almost surely make Baby Boy (by then What a Big Boy) “school-ready.” There is no substitute for M&P training. It takes four or five or six years, and there will be missteps and tempers, yet the magic is slow but sure.

Our wee fellow citizen will learn to read, write and figure, if indeed Mum 'n' Dad haven't already introduced those skills along with singing, swimming, monkey bars climbing and ball-catching.

If school proves to be good, fine.

If not, by the time What a Big Boy is ready, maybe his elders will be wise enough to provide school choice. Which doesn't mean abandonment of the public responsibility to educate. It means applying the public's dollars to tuition at a private, parochial or superior public school, whatever can do the job best. There is no reason Baby Boy shouldn't be as lucky as his grandparents were, when most schools were good because most kids behaved, having had plenty of M&P training, even through war, depression and discrimination.

But even the best schools don't let parents off the hook. They're always there as examples, reading a book now and then, saving something for retirement, not depending totally on Social Security or the words of politicians.

Because many trials lie ahead for Look How Big He's Growing.

First and foremost, the crazy national debt his parents' and grandparents' generations piled on him before his first taste of milk, $16 trillion. Even a grown-up head can't grasp trillions, much less the grapefruit-sized kind with fuzz on top that can hardly keep its eyes open. And what if it's $20 trillion by the time he's reading? Or $30 trillion with an utterly debased dollar by the time he's ready to earn a few?

How are he and the rest of Generation Newborn ever going to pay back what a spendthrift government saddled them with? It's enough to teach boys and girls disrespect for their elders.

And then, out beyond the inevitable temptations of substance abuse, teenage folly and cultural sleaze that threaten to swamp them, they'll find a world in which millions of people keep getting whipped up to hate and destroy America. The best of all countries!

Will they have to fight for it someday? Very likely.

And will it still be the land of opportunity? Parents and grandparents will have to see to that. Baby Boy just dropped off to sleep.


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