Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The True State of Our Union

Admittedly, I didn't watch President Obama last night as he addressed the nation.  I wanted to, but I was at an important neighborhood meeting.  For what it's worth, here's my opinion of the state of our country.
America is forgetting our roots--the men and women who escaped religious and political tyranny to forge a new life for themselves and their families, based on two factors:  1) America was free, and 2) immigrants knew how to work.

Think about how much work daily living used to entail.  Up before sunrise to start the fire for laundry and meals.  Up before sunrise to milk cows and feed livestock.  Working all day on the laundry and the mending and preserving the fruit and vegetables for your family.  Working all day in a factory or in the fields to provide for your family.  Gathering all your chickens around the family dinner table at night for food, schoolwork, scripture and prayer, only to go to sleep knowing that tomorrow would bring more of the same, not just for the adults, but for the children as well.

They were grateful for the opportunity to do it alone, without assistance from anyone else.  They were Americans.  They believed that anyone could own a home and land if they worked hard enough and long enough.  They believed that they could worship God however they chose.  They believed in the power that comes to each human being when they work for what they have.

I was taught these same principles in my home.  I had daily chores I had to do.  Although we didn't live on a farm per se, I grew up in farm country where we fed horses and sheep before school and thawed out the water spigot with a torch so we could water the animals in the winter.  I pulled weeds and mowed lawns and hauled loads of manure to fertilize our garden every spring. I learned how to sew my clothes and cook a decent meal and can our surplus fruit.

I earned my first money through a small allowance and babysitting our neighbors' kids.  I got my first job at fifteen because I knew the value of earning money of my own.  I worked all through high school--retail mostly, but I did spend one Christmas season as an elf assistant to our mall's Santa.

My family never had tons of extra money when I was growing up, and never did I expect or dream that my parents would pay for my college.  They assisted me with rent for the first two years, but I paid all of my own tuition, books, and food through what I'd saved in high school and through working.  Yep.  I worked WHILE I went to college.  When I lost my retail job, I took the first available job I could find--cleaning the Smith Fieldhouse bathrooms and windows six mornings a week  at 3:30 AM.  It was a tough semester, but the alternative was returning home and that wasn't an option.  I saved enough money over the next summer working as a lifeguard to pay for my first semester's expenses, but when I didn't have enough cash to cover my tuition payment for winter semester, I had my wage garnished every paycheck so I could continue on at school.  I lived on about $40 every two weeks for that entire semester, AND I lived to tell about it.  I didn't go to movies or shopping or eat elaborately, but I survived.

When Brad and I got married, we were financially independent from the moment the rings were placed on our fingers.  I worked a little while he was in law school, but we took out student loans on the hope that his potential to work as a lawyer would pay off in the long run. 

It did.

Neither of us had trust funds or sugar daddies to get us where we are today.  We live a comfortable life, a life that is blessed with children and noise and plenty.  We teach our children to work and none of them expects an all-expense-paid trip through college and beyond. Teaching my children to work is the most important part of my job as a mom (posted here) and the most exasperating, but if I don't do teach my kids to work, who will?

Kids think that because they were born, they deserve an iPhone or Xbox or car.  Kids think of work as torture and cruel instead of seeing it as a means to an end.  Kids think that endless hours of TV and YouTube and computer and texting are necessary parts of life, not privileges that should be governed by their parents.  Kids think parents live to make their lives easy and good.

The problem is that many parents think this same way.  Through our desires to provide better lives for our children, we are creating an entitled, lazy generation that is losing sight of the principles upon which our country became great. They don't want to be responsible for their phone bills or car insurance or student loan payments because they've never been taught that that is what adults DO.

I've come to the conclusion that many of the problems our country is facing have been caused not by stupid people nor poor people nor immigrant people nor violent people nor rich people nor Republican people nor Democrat people, but by an unknown-until-the modern-era demographic of people.

Lazy people.

I'm not talking about the mentally ill or the indigent.  I'm talking about truly lazy people.  Lazy people who believe that because they breathe, they are entitled to a cell phone or a car or a free college education or a big-screen TV. Lazy people who feel like they are entitled to everything that working people earn.  Our instant gratification society is collapsing upon its greed. Politicians and government can keep taxing and reallocating and equalizing as long as they think they can make a change, but by doing so, they are effectively teaching motivated people that no matter how hard they work, someone else will reap the benefit while showing lazy people that they don't need to work to provide for themselves because the government will always catch them with a silver spoon.

Americans are beginning to forget that work is a blessing and necessary for our existence.

And if we're not careful, America, we will be the geriatric generation held hostage by generations of our children and grandchildren who won't take care of old people, let alone themselves.

And then what will we do?


  1. BOOYAH!

    Well said. And I appreciate your example of work and self reliance. Sometimes it seems that people living "comfortable" lives have had a leg up before they even started. It's not always true and I love your reminder.

    Now off the computer I go to get some work done.

  2. Amen. The work ethic and sense of self reliance that has always been so American is being lost, and it is going to have tragic consequences for our country.

    I hope we can turn it around.


  3. Excellent, excellent post!! Thank you.

  4. Yes, exactly. You see why I love this woman? See?

  5. Agreed. I'm with you on every point

  6. Totally agree. And you missed nothing last night. It was pretty much like this: lie, lie, half truth, lie, bald faced lie, more lies. The only thing I really enjoyed was Marco Rubio. He did a great job, pushing through his nervousness and delivering a powerful message.