The grandson turned 2 the other day. The dogs are 9 now and I turned 69 a few days ago. We're all getting older but he's the only one who stands a chance of getting better.
After nine years I've given up trying to get these two Maltese to "go" outside. They are not trainable, and in fact, appear to be more revengeful as they age. It could be the Russian factor, I don't know. The only Russian I ever really knew was a female who skyped a lot with her mother in Siberia. Since they spoke only Russian I have to assume they were plotting the overthrow of something or other.
When the two dogs aren't plotting they're peeing. At 69 I have to go a lot as well, but I'm trained. The dogs wear diapers but I've got four or five years before that happens. The dogs and I are also losing teeth, which is sort of sad because that second set has come and gone. But I digress.
Little Harmon is being raised by his stay-at-home mom. He has a regular schedule, plays a lot in the yard, and watches very little television. He listens as she reads books about all sorts of things. He plays with blockos and protects his food from the rescue dog, Sunnie Day, a sweet collie mix we picked up about six years ago. He lives a short walk through the woods from "Pop Pop's" house and comes over for visits after his afternoon nap. It won't be long before he's able to walk the path by himself, but I can wait for that.
Right now he lives in this idyllic world of love, affection, trust and imagination one would wish for any child. His character is being formed by those who are willing to make the necessary "sacrifices" and who have his best interests at heart. They see his glass as half-empty and are intent on filling the rest of it up with good stuff.
He doesn't know there are other countries, ethnicities, good people and bad. He doesn't know he's white, only here as a person. He doesn't know he's an American, only here as Little Harmon. He's not a member of any group or political party, only his family.
At some point in time, hopefully years from now, someone, a teacher, friend, colleague or someone else, will tell him he's a white American male and needs to join a particular political party or some other entity, but it won't be me. The only thing he'll hear from me is, "You are an American and you need to vote." Hopefully, in the years ahead, the values we hold dear as a family will be instilled in him, and he will vote intelligently.
These values are probably no different than what each of you holds dear. Love of country, love of family, fearing God or a power higher than ourselves, and honoring ourselves by being true to our beliefs.
In this political season, when we hear so much hatred and vitriol from both parties, it would behoove us to remember we are first Americans, and like any family we have our "characters" or those who brought shame upon us all. Dwelling on those who brought us to low points in our history is no more productive than name calling in the present time.
I realize there are those who, for varying reasons, failed to raise productive, responsible children who will become the "characters" of the future. I can only speak for my daughter and her husband who make sure they are filling their son's glass with time, the most precious commodity one can give a child. They are dedicated to putting this one American into society; this one individual who will hopefully one day be a productive individual and not a "character."
When one looks at the current state of politics, "characters" abound with television bringing out the worst in each of them. The job of sifting through the lies, slander and misinformation in the current environment becomes the responsibility of each of us and we have to be well-educated to accomplish that goal. Education begins in the home with a family dedicated to raising a person of good character not a "character."
Sonny Harmon is a professor emeritus at Georgia Military College. Visit his blog at http://sharmon09.blogspot.com.