Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday's Words for July 16, 2008

I can remember as if it was yesterday rolling my eyes any time my father-in-law would utter the words, “back in my day”. A part of me would be thinking, “Times have changed, get over it.” And another part of me would be vowing that when I got older, such expressions would not be in my lexicon.

Ah, well. It’s amazing what interesting roads life takes us down, roads we were certain we would never travel.

Yes, times have changed. People have changed, too, I think. Is it my imagination that there seems to be a turning away from the concept of personal responsibility? Of course, hand in hand with that is a turning away from the flip side of that coin: personal accomplishment.

I had volunteered to do something for someone, and that something, as I was nearing the end of the task, suddenly turned a bit complicated and tricky and time-consuming. I muttered a comment as I worked away (Rest assured, it was a g-rated comment. I think I am finally used to having a young teen in the house). My grandson heard my muttering, understood the cause. His reaction? “You should quit. Tell them it’s too hard and just quit. I would.”

My reaction? “And be a quitter? No way!”

I thought there was something wrong with my grandson’s attitude, but as I raised my head out of my custom-designed ostrich hole, I realized that sometime in the last twenty years or so, being a quitter had lost its stigma. And it gets worse.

I’ve been paying attention to some of the younger (than me) people I’ve encountered lately. If it’s too tough, they don’t want to do it. If it’s too dirty a job, they avoid it. They have an inflated idea of their value, to the point that, if the job doesn’t pay enough, they won’t do it. “I’m worth more than that.” You think so? I’ve got news for you, cupcake. If you are not currently employed, you’re not worth nearly what you think you are. In fact, you’re not even worth the wage you’re not earning that you feel is beneath you.

I can recall my husband, during a time when he was out of work, going out in the middle of January with his shovel to clear driveways in order to put milk on the table.

The schools rarely fail a child these days. Did you know that? Everybody who tries out for the team gets on the team, and gets to have playing time. These, I am told, are so as to avoid frustrating the child or making him feel as if he is somehow inferior. Of course, this perfectly reflects what the child can expect from the world as an adult. Right?

No one believes in delayed gratification anymore, either. If they want it, they feel entitled to it, and that means right now. The first vacation my beloved and I went on was to Las Vegas. It was our honeymoon—on our seventeenth wedding anniversary. And we saved two years in order to be able to go.

People can live their lives however they choose. That’s a fact. No one has the right to tell anyone what to do or how to do it, and that’s a fact, too. And I’m not so much disgusted with this new way of living as I am saddened by it.

These people are missing out on some of the very best moments in life. They don’t know the sweet victory of struggling toward a goal, and then achieving it; the pride of doing a lot with very little and making it all come out right, somehow; of denying themselves so that someone else can have.

I’m told that life is kinder now than once it was, and that might appear to be true, on the surface.

But without that inner glow that comes with the pride of accomplishment, who’s going to want to bother to build the better mouse trap?


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