I had a great opportunity last Monday morning.

I had a great opportunity last Monday morning.

I was invited to Anderson Elementary to teach a government lesson to 95 fourth graders. I had an absolute ball! Those kids were interested in hearing about how laws are made and were ready and able to be participants in the process. We took a bill through the entire procedure from the initial idea to its last stop on the governor's desk (he vetoed it). We had so darned much fun, I was sad when it was over. It is really a privilege to work with young people. Teachers have a tough job but it sure has its rewards. That Monday evening we went to the annual Farm Bureau meeting and were served another great meal by the McDonald County Band Boosters.

Wednesday and Thursday I was in Jefferson City for the Children's Trust Fund board meeting and planning sessions. There were people there from all corners of the state helping to plan and coordinate activities for the Children's Trust Fund. One of their foremost fundraisers is the sale of the special license plates with the green handprints. The plates are only $25 and identify you as a supporter of the effort to prevent child abuse. I also had the opportunity to meet with the interim director of the Children's Division. I shared with her some of the initial findings of my committee on child abuse and neglect and we discussed some things that might be done to improve the system. I still have at least two more town hall meetings to hear comments about the system before I start preparing the year end reports for the House and Senate. We will be meeting at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Seneca phone company and at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at the New Mac building in Anderson.

Friday morning Jane and I were at the Lafayette House in Joplin celebrating their 35th year of providing a shelter for victims of domestic violence and substance abuse. We are truly lucky to have a facility like theirs available to people all over the area. We went to Anderson Elementary for Missouri night and were able to watch the fourth graders participating in programs sponsored by the fish hatchery, and Carver personnel as well as a wonderful display of pelts of furbearing animals of Missouri. We finished off the week's activities at the American Legion for a great third Friday dinner!

It's sure wonderful that the government shutdown is over. I'll bet that not one person in 10 can even tell the difference! Over 70 percent of the people in the 159th district believe that they should have held their ground and forced the government to live within their means. Some day soon, we are all going to realize that the federal government is no different than all the rest of us and simply cannot continue to spend money that it does not have. The way I see it, far too many people expect the government to provide things that it was never intended to. No matter which party we belong to, we are all responsible for growing government. Government help is a wonderful thing for those who have no other means for caring for themselves, but far, far too many people take advantage of programs just because they are able to qualify. We really need to provide more oversight for the dollars we are spending. A perfect example was the legislature passing a bill to prevent food stamp card use in liquor stores and casinos! Duh! You think! You really can't make this stuff up. More next week, until then I am and remain in your service.

Bill Lant represents the people of Newton and McDonald counties in the Missouri House of Representatives.