I have a new great-grandbaby. My fourth.

And Mason is his name.

Kids make family ― and family is the whole ball of wax of the reason for mankind (sorry, Snowflakes, if you're offended by "mankind" ― go grab your crayons and run to your safe-room ― well, I'm not really sorry, either). Many times over the years, people would look at my artwork and ask: "Why didn't you pursue your career?" I would wave at the photos of my kids and say: "But I did. And it's been very successful."

Raising kids IS a career! Probably the most complicated, hardest ― and most rewarding ― career there is. And the "rewarding" keeps on rewarding for generations. As Abraham Lincoln said, "The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world." We are seeing the downside, today, of the policies that have forced most mothers to work outside the home while their children are little, not enough time “in situ” for teaching moments to teach the bedrock values since man began.

It is not “quality time." It is “quantity time.” Kids live in the now. They need answers and attention in the “now,” not six hours from whatever is impacting their life.

The Native Americans say: "Everything you do affects the next seven generations." That is for good or for bad. Kids learn and repeat what they grow up with, and they pass it on to their kids who pass it on, and so on. Seven generations sounds like forever, but I have watched, with a smile, as I see my “kids” do or say things to their kids that Grampa Roy taught and did with me. And Mason is the sixth generation from Grampa Roy. So I stand here in the middle of those generations and see backwards and forward six generations in just my own lifetime. Sobering.

There should be a whole "Stay-at-Home-Parents" month to remind people that these parents are HEROES and the most vital thread in our society ― and kudos to the stay-at-home dads who have stepped up when needed to ensure the little one has his God-given earth-birthright: a parent in the home.

To the Native Americans, their children were first and last priority. They knew that how the children are raised determines the very future of our families and the very fabric of society. And, crucial, they watched the children for the first 12 years to see what individual talents they displayed. They then started giving the teachings and opportunities to develop those, a practice that was also prevalent for centuries in the Old World. That had, for example, most to do with artists like Rembrandt becoming such an accomplished painter by the time he was but 18. He’d been apprenticed out to a master painter at age 12. So he had been learning and progressing for six years by the time he was 18.

We’ve become a society that pushes talents and individual interests aside in preference to teaching our youth to go in the paths that will render them pliable for use as the “rulers” want. Young people are particularly “mantra-ized” in the “must go to college” meme, and graduate bankrupted with student loan debt for decades.

This benefits and is necessary for some specialized careers, but does not benefit many of the crucial fields of work vitally needed; for example, who is going to build the houses for the “professionals” who hardly know how to hang a picture on the wall? President Trump advocates for the practice of apprenticeships to be brought back. Sounds like a plan. Learn a profession, get paid while you learn and then hit the ground running with a good income and no debt.

But where does it ― do we ― all start?

One of my all-time favorite “odes” is William Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” Now there’s a title and a half. (Wordsworth: Predestined talent?)

He writes of us coming to this plane called “Earth” from our First Home. And this stanza spells it out:

“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:

The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,

Hath had elsewhere its setting,

And cometh from afar:

Not in entire forgetfulness,

And not in utter nakedness,

But trailing clouds of glory do we come

From God, who is our home.”

I theorize that the reason newborns, who have the look of wise old souls, can’t talk yet is because of the wonders they can still remember about their First Home, which they just came from, and that would confuse the heck out of us because we have long forgotten “…that imperial palace whence (we) came.”

But as the child’s memory of his First Home fades in the wonders of his new home here, starting with his mama and daddy ― and dog? ― “Then will he fit his tongue.”

Then the new one will learn to form words. And the one word he will use the most, once he reaches toddler-hood: “Why?”

Welcome, Little Mason, Little Miracle. Welcome to our family.

Marion Tucker-Honeycutt, an award-winning columnist, a Maine native and graduate of Belfast schools, now lives in Morrill. Her columns appear in this paper every other week.