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Baby’s First Teacher


I once saw a sticker with a slogan that should be plastered to every maternity ward and nursery in this country.  Parents should copy it one-hundred times the way the teachers used to make us to in school when we forgot our PE clothes.  “You are your child’s first teacher.”

And this is why the jails are overcrowded because too many parents think that their children’s teachers are their first ones so that they can get promoted to that cushy place called BFF or buddy.  If there were ever a sure-fire formula for jail, this is it.

When I was teaching, there were parents who came to school not only with tattoos, missing teeth and beer bellies, but with brass knuckles for fireside chats with the administration as well.  One boy told his mother to shut up during a meeting with the dean, but rather than letting him have it, she sat there and smiled.  He later pierced his tongue and came to school higher than a space shuttle.  I’d be surprised if he made it through high school.

It starts earlier than that.  Once when I was in line at a grocery store, I had the misfortune of being behind a woman with two kids under the age of ten.  When she came up short of cash, she turned to her children and said that the cashier wouldn’t let them have the groceries, as it were management’s fault rather than a bookkeeping glitch on her part.  Sans a credit card, I’ve come up short at times, too but never thought that it was the cashier’s fault.  While I have no way of tracking what happened to her or her kids, they probably never did anything all that meaningful with a lesson like that.         

So rather than letting the inmates out of jail and sending California further down the gulch, the state should practice a little prevention and send notices to each parent upon leaving the maternity ward letting them know that they are their child’s first teacher and have mandated parenting classes with lots of role playing.  And they shouldn’t stop there.  They should spread the word far and wide and send it to all clergy so they can promote the message from the pulpit.  

We should plaster it on billboards across town and send copies to lawyers thinking about taking a case from any parent insulted enough to sue.

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