Friday, October 23, 2009

Here's my final answer...or least one I would give when I haven't slept and been up all night stewing!

I read lots of books. Some of my favorite books are by the authors Gene Stratton Porter and Harold Bell Wright. Porter and Wright wrote about 100 years ago between the years of 1903 and 1942. The characters of the Porter and Wright books and the times they wrote about were hard. Teddy Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson and Harding were president during these times. Oklahoma, Arizona and New Mexico became states. The Boys Scouts of America and the NAACP were formed. Ford Motor Company opened and produced the first Model T. The United States entered World War I and the country entered the decades directly before the Great Depression. People worked hard, they sacrificed a lot, and had pride in their country, their ethics and their families. When I read about these times and I think about today I realize how much our country has lost in the past century in its determination to forge a successful political union and a democracy worth following. I’m not talking about the lack of political leadership or the inability of the national parties to reach across the aisles to work together for common solutions. I’m talking about the individual, you and me, the common man on the street and their expectations of what is worth their time and effort while here on this earth. In losing the value of the individual we have lost the value of our society as a whole.
I get the sense when reading the books from the early 1900’s in the US that people didn’t expect wealth and luxury, ease and plenty out of life. They expected hard work and pride, strength of character and honor. It was shameful to be given something you hadn’t earned and a disgrace to not contribute to society in some form of social enterprise. Theodore Roosevelt described a “good American Boy” as
“He must not be a coward or a weakling, a bully, a shirk, or a prig. He must work hard and play hard. He must be clean-minded and clean-lived, and able to hold his own under all circumstances and against all comers.” ( A “good American Boy” he reasoned would naturally grow into a “good American Man”
Times were hard, child labor was abused, racial injustice was a huge issue, unemployment was climbing and salaries were low. Many had to eek out additional food from their own backyards to supplement what they could buy with their earnings. But despite the hardships neighbors watched out for neighbors. Towns looked out for the orphans, widows, the sick and elderly. Individuals took responsibility for their financial obligations and took the initiative to work out solutions when hard times made it difficult to manage obligations.
Today the average citizen seems dissatisfied with what they earn. They are always expecting more for the same amount of effort. Employers as well demand more and more production with fewer resources and lower compensation. This lack of job satisfaction demeans self worth and more and more people turn to consumption to fill the void left by their lack of pride in the hard work and societal status. The never ending downward spiral of consumption means that the average individual is trapped in an unsatisfying need to spend and then work at an unsatisfactory job to keep the creditors at bay who finance filling the void. The needs of society are no longer filled by knowing neighbors but by distant government entities that rarely judge merit on a case by case basis but instead hand out meaningless compensation determined by impersonally predetermined standards.
I think it is time for Americans to take back their lives. It’s time for us to live within our means…don’t spend more than we make! Take pride in your hard work and show it by living on what our work says we are worth. Reach out to those in the community around us that are struggling and thereby esteem them as individuals and ourselves as members of humanity that have worth and value. Take back our pride and self esteem from the drain of unsatisfactory work by pouring ourselves in to the good of those around us. Don’t succumb to the lie that satisfaction comes from possessions…it doesn’t…it comes from relationships with God and with our fellow man.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Well its been a while!

I'm pretty sure I've forgotten the password to this blog. I know there is probably a way that now I'm in I can change it or look at it. I guess I had it programmed into this computer to "remember" the password. Boy do I need that for more things in my life! I read the other day that your brain can basically hold between 7-10 pieces of information in your short term memory, hence the reason for the 10 digit phone numbers. Well I have three kids and a husband and since I've only been married almost 16 years and my kids are 12, 10, and 5 I'm not sure they've been moved to long term memory yet so that only leaves me 6 more things I can remember!

Life has been busy lately. All three kids are in school now and now it means three school schedules to keep up with instead of just two! I've started working part time managing the bookstore my church opened and I'm loving every minute of it! And guess what...I've got 5 passwords/codes to remember for that job so I hope I don't have any more kids because I probably wouldn't be able to remember their names...I don't have any other kids do I?