Letter to a newborn
SC Statehouse Report
NOTE: My wife and I had our first child 4:23 a.m. Friday. The following
thoughts were written a couple of hours after little Avery's birth.
These thoughts replaced my planned column on taxes and next year's
legislative session. We'll get to that next week.
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SEPT. 12, 2003 - - Dear little Avery,
You came into the world today with wide open eyes that darted around
the hospital room and seemed to ask, "So what have you gotten
me into now - what is this place?"
You've been born in South Carolina, one of the best places in the
whole, wide world. It has lush land from the rolling hills of the
Upstate to the salt-scented marshes of the Lowcountry. Its people
are warm and generous with an independent spirit. For the most part,
they are kind and forgiving.
As you looked at me before the crack of dawn, there were so many
things I wanted you to know.
You should know our people are generally good. Sometimes they stray
and do bad things or forget to do what's right. Some leaders forget
to pursue justice and good for all South Carolinians by pushing
a narrow agenda fueled by selfish desires. Sometimes people forget
the lessons of church to love their neighbors and, instead, love
themselves too much.
You also should know that sometimes people need help - - a hand
up to get past hard times. There's nothing ever wrong with asking
for help and you shouldn't look down on somebody who needs it. When
somebody asks you for help, you should try to give it.
Your mother and I hope you learn how to recognize the difference
between good and evil, truth and lies. We hope you'll always tell
the truth, eat your vegetables and learn how to be a good friend
In South Carolina, we hope you'll learn to mind your manners, be
on your best behavior at all times and obey the law.
We want you to appreciate hard work, value a dollar and learn to
refrain from wasting things. We hope you'll focus on our state's
bright future and keep from dwelling on the past.
And we pray you'll fight to protect our freedoms and stand up for
the rights of those who feel they have no voice. Too many people
take the easy way out, play the blame game and pit neighbor against
neighbor. Too many leaders really are followers who lack the courage
to be different. We hope you and your generation will challenge
conventional wisdom. We hope you'll be fearless in the midst of
naysayers. We hope you'll help make things better.
There are a lot of challenges here in your new home in South Carolina.
We need a better education system for all. We need people to respect
and understand each other better. We need leaders who will find
the courage to do what's right for everyone, not just select groups
of people. We need to provide better health care, jobs, futures
and opportunities for everyone.
But with all of the problems that are out there, our future is
positive because we have a shared sense of purpose and determination.
You and your peers have inherited it. We hope you'll use it to benefit
Shopping for America
This week's cartoon by our Bill McLemore: