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May 28, 2008


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Column
By Chris Bridges

Turning the page for another year
“Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” — Jack Benny
•••
It’s that time on the calendar again.
It’s the time when your local columnist celebrates another turning of the page if you will. For in this month 37 years ago (yesterday in fact) I arrived in this world. Born in the central Georgia town of Macon on a Thursday (amazing what the Internet can tell you), I feel blessed to still be a part of it all.
There’s no doubt I have been blessed beyond anything I deserve during my time, which is rapidly approaching four decades now. Growing up with a strong family support system I have honestly never gone without anything I needed. That’s not an exaggeration. While many people wake up in the morning wondering how they will make it through the day, my biggest morning obstacle is deciding which shirt to wear.
I’ve written through the years of being blessed with both maternal and paternal grandparents who heavily influenced me and helped mold me into the person I am. Any ounce of me that is good can be traced to them along with my parents. The influence each of them provided — even when I have tried to ignore it — has rubbed off now and then and made me a much better person for it.
I admit there are many times I feel every bit of my 37 years. I find myself pausing and wondering just how in the world I arrived at this age. Wasn’t it just yesterday I was living carefree as a high school student. I guess when I cover high school athletics for a living I forget just how long it has been since I was once. When local graduates received their diplomas this spring, it marked 19 years since I did the same. (I try not to let my mind dwell on that number for too long!)
I’ve seen a lot in my 37 years although there’s plenty more I would enjoy seeing. I haven’t done much traveling in my time. The furthest away from home I have been was a high school class trip to Washington, D.C. back in 1988. I’ve never been overseas, never been to the northern or western part of our great country. I’ve never seen the beaches and sunsets of Hawaii (unless of you count episodes of Magnum, P.I.).
I’d love to drive through states like Wyoming and Montana. I would love to take a fall and travel to various college football games to places like Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Duke and the like, schools where the student part of student-athlete is stressed.
I’m still waiting for my numbers to come through in the Megamillions game which would no doubt make all my traveling wishes a reality. It would also give the chance to buy about 200 acres of land and start my own animal rescue operation. Perhaps all, or at least some, of that can happen during my next 37 years.
For now, I will simply enjoy year No. 37. Summer is now at hand (another nice thing about having a birthday in late May is that it kick starts summer time) and that always seems to lift my — and everyone’s — spirit.
I’ve never minded getting older. I view it as, “You’re as old as you are.” I’ve never lied about my age or tried to convince someone I was still in my mid-20s when I haven’t seen that era in more than decade.
Yes, I am now 37 and it’s not something I will try to hide during the next 12 months. I will enjoy it each day and try to better myself during that time. I realize though making myself better doesn’t include magically taking years off my life. That won’t happen until someone invents that elusive fountain of youth.
Chris Bridges is a reporter for The Banks County News. Contact him at 706-367-2745 or e-mail comments to chris@mainstreetnews.com.


Column
By Kerri Testement

The tough part of parenthood
I finally caught myself saying something that I thought I wouldn’t say: “Don’t stick your finger in the cat’s butt.”
Yep, you know your child is reaching that wonderful time as a toddler when you start telling your kid where NOT to stick her finger.
My daughter, Katie, is now 19 months old — and she is realizing how far she can push our buttons.
Sometimes it’s cute. At the first hint that a “no” may be coming out of my mouth, she pouts her lip and buries her head under any object she can find.
Sometimes it’s not so cute — like when she tries playing with a messy diaper. She knows not to touch it, but she tries to make things worse.
She knows that if she makes a fake gagging noise, that an adult will come running to her side. She knows that if she turns off the TV that someone will turn it back on.
How do I know she is understanding what is “right” and what is “wrong” at such a young age? She gets THAT look on her face. That look you catch her throwing at you just before she does something bad. Every parent knows what that look is on their child’s face.
Katie is entering a new phase of childhood — the time when she is just starting to understand how her actions have consequences.
We’ve done a lot for her in the past year and a half — changed countless diapers, cleaned plenty of messy clothes, read lots of books to her, and even handed her over to surgeons for two heart surgeries and a stomach surgery.
And now comes the even harder part: Raising a good kid.
No parent says they plan to raise a bad kid. We don’t say we want to raise the biggest brat on the block. We don’t say we want our child to be the most inconsiderate kid in a classroom. We don’t say we want our child to have the worst manners possible. And we certainly don’t want them to become criminals.
That’s the tricky part of parenthood — doing what’s best for your child now, while still making them a better person for adulthood.
There are plenty of books, websites and television shows giving parents advice on raising good kids. But, doesn’t it seem like many of us are missing the mark?
Just visit a youth sporting event and it’s not too difficult to spot the kid whose parent lacks parenting skills.
No one is the perfect parent. We all make mistakes. And when we realize those mistakes, it makes it even more difficult to endure since it involves your child.
But, it’s our responsibility to not just provide food, shelter, clothing and medical care for our children, but to also make them better adults than ourselves. And that not only takes discipline, but love, too.
Kerri Testement is the news editor for The Braselton News, a sister publication of The Banks County News. E-mail comments about this column to kerri@mainstreetnews.com.



 

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