|Destroyer of the human spirit|
1 in 6 Americans are availing themselves of government assistance. Yes, you read that correctly. 1 in 6. The assistance comes in many forms - Medicaid, Food Stamps, Cash Benefits, WIC, Welfare and Unemployement. Apparently Medicare and Social Security don't count because they are not considered "assistance" but rather "entitlements".
Let me tell you a little story. When I was growing up, my parents decided to jump off a cliff and follow their dream. This dream led them from a home, surrounded by family and friends and a wonderful support network to 25 acres of raw land in the middle of nowhere (quite literally) with nothing. Really, we had nothing. We knew no one. Neither of my parents had a job. Our property was beautiful but devoid of any infrastructure. There were no buildings, no well, no septic system, no power. Just rolling fields, tall timber and two creeks.
As I said, my parents moved to this secluded wilderness with no jobs and no prospects, but with an intense desire to live their dreams and the internal fortitude to achieve their quest. It was no walk in the park. We spent the first month and a half living in a tent, taking baths in the glacier fed creek and working. Hard. We built an outhouse, fenced 25 acres, hand-dug a spring and lined it with cedar, put in a septic system, had power brought in, moved in a single-wide trailer, cut and split eight cord of wood and hauled a winters worth of hay for our five horses. We accomplished all of this in three months, quite literally by the sweat of our brows.
Fall rolled around and my dad had to find work. There was very little to be found - nothing in his previous profession of iron working. There were not a lot of skyscrapers in the backwoods! He eventually found a job pushing a broom on the night shift of a local saw mill. He hated every minute of it, but he did it, and was thankful for the work, because he needed to provide for his family. After working there a short time, he was hired to mechanic for a logger. This logger was busy, so my dad spent much of his time on the ground under huge logging equipment. It was a terrible job. Cold, hard, back-breaking work it was, but it was better than being a janitor at a saw mill, and he did it without complaining. Our very first Thanksgiving was spent with my dad at his job. We all lay on the cold November ground beneath a skidder so that we could have Thanksgiving Dinner as a family. And you know what? We were truly grateful.
The first winter was the hardest. We had not lived in our new place long enough for my dad to be able to hunt, so we had no meat. Money was non-existent, so we had to make do with little or nothing. By the grace of God, our pastor had connections in farming community about 8 hours away and brought home a truck load of apples and a truck load of potatoes and gave them to families in the church. We went into winter with some jars of canned goods that my mom had canned from her large garden before we left, a couple hundred pounds of potatoes and about a hundred pounds of apples. That was it. Nothing more.
Our nearest neighbor (about a half a mile away) took pity on us and brought a rabbit to grace our dinner table occasionally. Another neighbor gave us extra eggs from time to time. As a rule, we didn't eat breakfast or lunch, but my mom always found something to make for dinner. We never went hungry. A cause for great excitement came when my Grandma would send a "care package". It was like Christmas in a box! She sent breakfast cereal, cans of soup, toilet paper, toothpaste and all kinds of goodies. We had never felt more blessed.
We kids never knew we were poor. My brother and I both have the BEST childhood memories of anyone we know. Neither one of us ever felt deprived of any good thing. We had our parents, a roof over our head, food in our bellies (such as it was) and a God that loved us. What more could children want? Nothing.
You may ask what this little story has to do with the price of tea in China. Everything! While we were busy being poor, we were learning the most important lessons in life. We learned that hard work really does pay off and that good things are worth waiting for. We learned that there is pride to be had in a job well done. We learned that going without wasn't a bad thing. It wasn't something to be avoided, but rather something to be embraced as it built our character. We learned to stand in the face of the impossible and, through sheer grit, make it possible. We learned to stand on our own two feet and never admit defeat. Our parents taught us to be adults. They taught us to be responsible, to fight our own fights and to stand up after we had been knocked down. They taught us independence.
Our government is destroying what is best in the human spirit. By always "bailing" people out our government is crippling its' citizens. Just like a parent that continually provides money and shelter to their drug addict adult child or the parent that lets their adult children live in their basement, eat pizza a play video games all day "just until they find direction", our government is creating generations of "adult children", dependent on them for their daily bread. It is stealing our independence, our self-esteem and our very individuality.
It is not bad to suffer. It is not bad to struggle. Hardship and strife do not produce hopeless, helpless shells of humanity, rather they produce vital, strong, merciful human beings capable of changing their world.
Our government should not be in the roll of indulgent parents. They should be facilitators of freedom, justice and independence - none of which are dependent on the almighty dollar. By constantly "assisting" people, our government is destroying the human spirit.
If my parents could make it through years of hardship to realize their dreams, I daresay the majority of the American public could benefit from a little "character building" themselves.