My wife bought a new iPhone the other day as a belated birthday present to herself. After Bethany made the mistake of not immediately setting up a passcode, our son Alex promptly made his mother regret the oversight when he changed her lock screen photo to a snapshot of his bare derriere. Happy birthday, Mom!

Travis Naughton

Travis Naughton

Alex isn’t the only comedian in our family. Far from it. At dinner last week, our younger son Truman told his mother, “You’re not even in my atmosphere right now. This isn’t the 1900s, Mom.” While no one could be certain what either of his quips meant, the elevated level of sass with which they were delivered was not lost on any of us sitting at the table. Life with children is never boring. Especially Naughton children.

Other people’s children can be just as inexplicable/entertaining as my own. While supervising second grade recess on the primary school playground recently, I walked over to a rowdy group of boys just in time to overhear the last sentence of their conversation: “…And that’s how babies are made!” I reacted the only way I knew how: I pretended that I hadn’t heard a word and then walked away as fast as I could—before any of the boys had a chance to ask me for clarification.

One of the things I appreciate about kids is how unpredictable they can be. Adults let themselves fall into boring routines, which often turn into mindless habits, and eventually deep ruts that are difficult to climb out of. Not so with children. Whether at home or at school, I never make it through a day without at least one kid causing me to laugh out loud and/or scratch my head.

A friend who teaches kindergarten conveyed part of a conversation she’d had with a student earlier this school year. “Teacher,” the boy began, “I think I have a splinter in my wenis.” He then pointed to the affected area (in case she was unfamiliar with the scientific terminology for that particular portion of the male anatomy.) She was tempted to ask how in the world such a thing could occur, but instead wisely chose to go with the tried and true method of waiting five seconds for the young child to forget what he was talking about and move on.

Lest you get the false impression that females are immune to the goofiness of childhood, I will tell you that young girls are just as ridiculous as their male counterparts. For example, my daughter Tiana has developed an affinity for giving people and inanimate objects very specific nicknames. For instance, she might call her big brother “Really Tall Boy With Long Hair” or our kitchen “Room Where we Eat Food off of Plates.” Then she laughs so hard that she snorts like a pig while fighting to prevent milk from shooting from her snout, I mean nose.

I love kids. Mine and yours. As if I weren’t already the luckiest guy in the world for having three amazing kids of my own, I have had the pleasure, at one time or another, of teaching nearly every single student currently enrolled in the SoBoCo school district. I am a lucky man indeed.

Maybe there’s something in the water supply of Southern Boone County that produces such outstanding, interesting, and hilarious young people. More likely, there are some really great parents in our community who are raising the next generation the right way. To those folks I say, keep up the good work.

And kids, keep those laughs coming.

By Travis Naughton