I Hope

Lee Pitts as read by Paul Harvey

We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I'd like better. I'd really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would. I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated. I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen. It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep. I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in, I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother. And it's all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he's scared, I hope you let him.

When you want to see a movie and your little brother wants to tag along, I hope you'll let him. I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely. On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don't ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won't be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom.

If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one. I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books. When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.

I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like. May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn you hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole. I don't care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don't like it. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle. May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays.

I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through you neighbor's window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you-tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness. To me, it's the only way to appreciate life.

Accumulated Wisdom

  • No matter how hard you try, you can't baptize cats.
  • When your mom is mad at your dad, don't let her brush your hair.
  • If your sister hits you, don't hit her back. They always catch the second person.
  • Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.
  • You can't trust dogs to watch your food.
  • Reading what people write on desks can teach you a lot.
  • Don't sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
  • Puppies still have bad breath even after eating a tic tac.
  • Never hold a dustbuster and a cat at the same time.
  • School lunches stick to the wall.
  • You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
  • Don't wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.
  • The best place to be when you are sad is in Grandma's lap.

Why Have Kids?

When asked, most parents give grand and lofty reasons for wanting to procreate: to experience the warmth of family; to perpetuate the species; to see what marvel will result from the mixing of their gene pool with their loved ones'. But let's not overlook parenthood's other little perquisites.

After all, when you have a child, you get to:

  • Keep Frosted Flakes front and center in your cupboard, no questions asked.
  • Clobber Wiffle balls with a plastic bat and become you child's sports idol, even if you were a benchwarmer in school.
  • Buy all the Barbie clothes and accessories (or action figures and accessories) you coveted but were denied as a child.
  • Check out the new Crayola hues, like Tickle Me Pink, Macaroni and Cheese, and Razzmatazz. (Bonus discovery: Coloring is a great way to relieve stress.)
  • Inhale the delicious, can't-be-bottled fragrance of the crown of a baby's head.
  • Get re-acquainted with Dr. Seuss, Madeline, and Harold and his purple crayon (and realize why you never forgot them).
  • Bask in the warmth of compliments and nostalgic smiles from grandma-types waiting behind you in line at the grocery store.
  • Watch Bugs Bunny cartoons again, this time appreciating the classical music and references to 1940's movie stars.
  • Replace the dead batteries in a toy and be held in awe as a wizard on par with Einstein.
  • Turn your child on to all the great tunes your parents hated when you were growing up- like everything the Beatles recorded.
  • Achieve instant genius status with your lame-yet-profound explanations of why the sky is blue, why fingers get wrinkly in the bathtub, and where Popsicle juice goes in your body once you eat it.
  • Ride the merry-go-round, swing on swings, build snowmen, and catch fireflies until *you* decide it's time to quit.
  • Speak knowingly about education policies and child psychology to friends who are single without fear that they'll contradict the wisdom of your views.
  • Have a ready supply of gifts for your parents: your child's nicely framed portrait at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 1 year, 2 years...
  • Finally be the one saying "When I was your age," "Wait till your father gets home," "Because I'm the mommy, that's why," and "What did I tell you?"
  • Marvel every night at the sight of your child's smooth, perfect face, fast asleep- and count your lucky stars.

Important Parenting Tips

Bill Cosby

These are bits of wisdom gained by a father who was educated by his rather active children.

  • There is no such thing as child proofing your house.
  • A four-year-old's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.
  •  If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42-pound boy wearing pound puppy underwear and a Superman cape.
  • Baseballs make marks on ceilings.
  • A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.
  • The glass in windows (even double pane) doesn't stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.
  • When you hear the toilet flush and the words "uh-oh," it is already too late.
  • Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, lots of it.
  • A six-year-old boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year-old man says it can only be done in the movies.
  • If you use a waterbed as home plate while wearing baseball shoes, it does not explodes.
  • A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2,000 sq. ft. house almost 4 inches deep.
  • LEGOs will pass through the digestive tract of a 4-year-old.
  • Duplos will not.
  • Playdough and microwaves should never be used in the same sentence.
  • Superglue is forever.
  • VCR's do not eject Peanut Butter & Jam sandwiches, even though TV commercials show they do.
  • Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.
  • Marbles in a gas tank make lots of noises when driving.
  • You probably do not want to know what that odor is.
  • Always look in the oven before you turn it on.
  • The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.
  • It will, however, make cats dizzy.
  • Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.
  • A good sense of humor will get you through most problems in life.

Price of Children

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up $160,140! That doesn't even touch college tuition.

For those with kids, that figure leads to wild fantasies about all the money we could have banked if not for (insert your child's name here). For others, that number might confirm the decision to remain childless.

But $160,140 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates to $8,896.66 a year, $741.38 a month, or $171.08 a week. That's a mere $24.44 a day! Just over a dollar an hour.

Still, you might think the best financial advice says don't have children if you want to be "rich". It is just the opposite.

What do your get for your $160,140?

  • Naming rights. First, middle, and last!
  • Glimpses of God every day.
  • Giggles under the covers every night.
  • More love than your heart can hold.
  • Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
  • Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.
  • A hand to hold, usually covered with jam.
  • A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sandcastles and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain.
  • Someone to laugh yourself silly with no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.
  • For $160,140, you never have to grow up.
  • You get to finger-paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightning bugs, and never stop believing in Santa Claus.
  • You have an excuse to keep: reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh, watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to Disney movies, and wishing on stars.
  • You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodlewreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.
  • For $160,140, there is no greater bang for your buck.
  • You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking the training wheels off the bike, removing a
  • splinter, filling the wading pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.
  • You get a front row seat to history to witness the first step, first word, first bra, first date, and first time behind the wheel
  • You get to be immortal.
  • You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren.
  • You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match.
  • In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there with God.
  • You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost.

What Does Love Mean?

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8-year-olds, "What does love mean?" The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
Rebecca - age 8

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth."
Billy - age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
Karl - age 5

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."
Chrissy - age 6

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
Terri - age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
Danny - age 7

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
Bobby - age 5

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend whom you hate."
Nikka - age 6

"There are two kinds of love. Our love. God's love. But God makes both kinds of them."
Jenny - age 4

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
Noelle - age 7

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
Tommy - age 6

"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."
Clare - Age 5

"Love is when mommy gives daddy the best piece of chicken."
Elaine - age 5

"Love is when mommy sees daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
Chris - age 8

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
Mary Ann - age 4

"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."
Lauren - age 4

"I let my big sister pick on me because my Mom says she only picks on me because she loves me. So I pick on my baby sister because I love her."
Bethany - age 4

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."
Karen - age 7

"Love is when mommy sees daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross."
Mark - age 6

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
Jessica - age 8

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