They fidget, then grumble, blink and sometimes make weird faces every year for what is now a parental tradition — the first day back to school photo.

Looking back at photos of how our little ones have grown each year, we’re capturing a moment we’ll never get back.

Many parents reading this can understand that mix of emotions we experience when milestones like this come up in our kids’ lives. We’re at once proud and happy, but also sad and heartbroken that the little people who have depended on us for everything are slowly growing into independent human beings, who are increasingly getting smarter, more self aware and more confident.

And yes, they’re getting to be cooler than mom and dad.

As they get older our babies don’t need us to tie their shoes anymore. They don’t need us to help them up at the playground. They don’t need us to wash their little faces after they eat.

And, for most of us, we’ll miss doing all those things for them.

But here’s what they do need. They still need us to look out for them and to protect them in any way we can. They need us to support them and be proud of them in whatever they choose to become.

They need us to tell them and show them the differences between right and wrong. And they need us to be good examples of humanity.

Rejoice in those little moments in time that we can hold on to, while we’re slowly letting go of little hands.

Why aren’t we listening to our doctors?

The original editorial began as a measure to call out our local school systems for not following the advice of doctors and experts to reduce risks from the new highly contagious version of COVID-19.

Take the Rome City Board of Education, for instance. They have a doctor, a pediatrician as a matter of fact, Dr. Melissa Davis pleading with her fellow school board members to listen.

Dr. Jennifer Barbieri, a Harbin Clinic critical care pulmonologist, spoke to the board beforehand about the younger patients she’s seeing because of the much more easily spread Delta COVID-19 variant.

This is just one example. The superintendent of Floyd County Schools has gone on the record of being firmly against masks but, at the same time, has also led the way in a vaccination push.

But the kids under 12 can’t get vaccinated and that’s why public health officials are now saying they’re really at risk from the more virulent Delta variant.

The Georgia chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics wrote an open letter to local school superintendents recently offering guidance on how to safely reopen schools amidst a rise in COVID-19 cases.

The letter urges superintendents to require all staff and students over the age of 2 to wear masks regardless of whether they’ve received the vaccine.

Shortly after the letter was issued, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance to include similar recommendations for K-12 schools.

We don’t need to listen to pseudo-politics, we need to listen to our experts and doctors.

Talking about politics ...

Former U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, a Marietta Republican, who served in the U.S. House from 2003 until 2015 when he resigned to unsuccessfully run for U.S. Senate, was among those we caught up with recently.

“I’m mostly trying to play a little golf at Marietta Country Club,” Gingrey said. “Unfortunately I am the worst golfer up there, but I probably enjoy it as much as anybody else. Other than that, I’m doing a little lobbying at the federal level.”

Gingrey said after he lost the Senate race to David Perdue he went to work as a lobbyist on K Street, mainly for clients in the healthcare industry, given his background as a physician.

“I’ve enjoyed it, but even that I’m getting a little tired of it. Since COVID-19, we can’t meet with the members of Congress face to face. It’s all virtual Zoom, Webex, whatever, and it’s OK, but it’s not quite the same. Of course, the longer you’re out, the less influence you have. Members leave like I left and some of them, unfortunately, pass on, but I have enjoyed it.”

Gingrey said he’s scaled the lobbying back to a couple hours a month now. He turned 79 this month and enjoys his 13 grandchildren. Among the other things he talked about was the cycles of politics and watching this area shift from one political party and back again.

“You know, these things go in cycles. Right now the Dems certainly in Cobb County are up, but not quite as much as a lot of Republicans worry about. I think it’s close. ... I don’t think we should be too worried about this being a permanent shift, because I think the time that I’ve been here, over 40 years, I’ve seen these shifts occur. ... But I hope for the better. I hope we Republicans, who I think have the better policies in regard to our conservative principles, that’s why I want Republicans like Devan (Seabaugh) to continue to win ... but other than that, I want less partisanship, less rancor, less anger and more love, quite honestly, for each other. Because that’s what makes our country great. That’s what makes our state great.”

Gingrey called such old school Democrats such as former Gov. Roy Barnes and former U.S. Rep. Buddy Darden his friends.

Thank you for reading.


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