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I am now officially a member of the “Gushing Grandma Club.” Levi Duffy Cooper was born on April 19 in Scottsdale, Ariz. I had purchased an airplane ticket many weeks prior to the blessed day. Of course, I begin thinking about his future …

I am on the plane coming to see you for the first time, Grandchild. You are just hours old and many thoughts are racing through my mind. My hope and prayer for you and all the children growing up in the United States at this time is that you are fortunate enough, just like your parents were, to grow up in a country that is the safest and freest in the world — one that provides you with the opportunity to achieve whatever your heart desires.  I want you to have the opportunity to pursue the happiness that you desire — that your cleverness and skillfulness will be encouraged and not stymied by those who are in charge.

As I think about your future, one of your most important tasks will be to learn about our Constitution and our Founding Fathers’ intent. Our Founders believed that the nation would not survive if God were removed from the public arena. Our Constitution was designed to protect Americans from the failures and frailties of our rulers. It is imperative that this nation remains a true constitutional republic. The government should ensure that you have the freedom to prosper.  

Like our Founders, please become a well-read man. Become part of an informed electorate. Our nation will not remain free if the electorate becomes ignorant or indifferent. If you do not understand the immediate concerns of the day and just believe and repeat the rhetoric voiced by politicians and the media, you will risk the chance of moving our nation toward tyranny. This is important to learn so that the government can never take away our freedoms.

My hope is that our government leaders will always ensure that your “equal rights” are protected and that they have the wisdom to know that it is not the government’s duty to provide “equal things” for the people. There is no one like you but please never, never develop a sense of entitlement. You and you alone will be responsible for yourself. The government owes you nothing.

Also, compassion is a wonderful attribute, but please be aware that idleness, laziness and extravagance should never be rewarded. It is better to provide a way for those in need to help themselves than to give handouts. Our Founders believed that charity is a noble and needed thing, but it should not be provided by the federal government. Please never allow emergency help like unemployment and welfare to become a way of life. These things should be a safety net, not a hammock. Too much compassion can stifle the will to succeed and cause one to be counter-productive.  

Your ingenuity is a key to your future success. I hope you develop a work ethic and that you learn to work with others. Excellence only comes from practice. We want you to be successful, but please know that it is OK to fail. Be inventive and resourceful. Please remember that nothing is more important than being a man of honor. Be humble, generous and thankful and hold tightly to your integrity. Grasp and embrace that your individual effort and the education that you acquire will make you an independent man.

Your family has such great expectations for you. In your early years, of course you will be doted upon and told you are God’s gift to the world. Yes, in the words of Mr. Fred Rogers, “You are special,” but please learn that God alone is supreme. My prayer is that you develop a personal relationship with God, your Creator. Welcome to the world, Levi.

WILLEE COOPER is a former teacher and military spouse. A Hopkinsville resident, she is president of the Kentucky Federation of Republican Women. Her column runs on the first and third Friday of each month. Reach her at

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