Monday, February 22, 2016

What I wish I had told my kids when they were young and what I wish Americans knew too

Let me start off with a couple analogies of sorts.  I'll start with married couples, and then I'll move to the factory floor and to the grimy work of being knee deep in mud, and then share what I wish I told my kids sooner.

I've counselled dozens of married couples and hundreds of people.  I've learned there are only two distinguishing steps between those who work out their problems and those who stay stuck in a mess.  Here are the two steps that determine whether a person will get healthier or grow worse: One, they want to get healthier.  They want it more than other people want them to get healthy, that is, they want to get healthy themselves.  Two, they put in the work to change.  They don't give up just because it's hard.

I've seen married people fight against each other, and I've seen married people fight for each other.  It's not hard to guess which type of couple will gain success in healing their relationships.

Second analogy.  There are people in this world who know what it's like to have to work hard for what they have, and there are people who like to idealize hard work.  For example, I worked in a factory for two years while I was in high school.  I met people there who had worked in that same factory for 30 years, they put in their time, as the saying goes.  That was all they knew, hard work and dedication to the company.  Also, I've worked in concrete on and off all of my life, I've met some people who truly strive to labor diligently, and who give an honest day's work for for an honest day's wage.

Now, this isn't to say that there aren't white collar people who don't work hard.  I'm not simply talking about working hard, I'm talking at this point in time about work that is hard, it's hard on the body, it takes its toll on a person.  It grinds you into dust kind of work.  But I do want to say I respect the hard working white collar workers who aren't afraid to wear themselves out for the work they are passionate about,  And my feelings are true for the hard working artists too.

My contrast in this second analogy is this: I've also met people who have never had to work for anything, most of what they have was handed to them.  They stayed on their parent's dole, or their in-laws took care of them, well into adulthood.  They don't know what it's like to have to earn anything, everything has pretty much been given to them without any need for them to work for it.  Yet, they have a romantic view of what work is (Like the kids who wear timberland work boots or Carhartt jackets but have never dug a ditch with a shovel or carried a heavy load in their entire life).

Now, there are people in the same station of life who know their folks took care of their needs, who respect their parents and who don't pretend to know what it's like to have to be self-sufficient, they have no shame crediting their folks for taking care of their needs.  This last case of people is few and far in between.

These long rambling thoughts lead me to write now what I wish I had told our children when they were younger and what I wish America knew too:  No one is immune from effort. I suppose I could've just tweeted that short sentence, but I feel this topic deserves this lengthy commentary.

What I mean by this is, we all have to exert energy and work hard most of our life.  Life isn't easy.  Life is hard.  But! Work isn't a curse, it's a gift, it's a blessing.

My theology leads me to conclude that our God is a creator God.  Creators are creative, they work, they make things and do things, that is they work.  If our God is a worker God, then it makes sense to me, we who are created in His image would be creatures who would work.  Yes God is much more too, but this post isn't about covering the entire nature of God :-)

In my opinion, the real reason socialism appeals to the very people it does appeal to is because socialism sells the notion "you won't have to work hard to receive the same benefits as those who do work hard."  I think it's true, you reap what you sow.  If you plant a crop, you reap the fruit.  If you don't plant seeds, you don't receive a bounty.

Wouldn't it be nice to receive gifts all year long? But Christmas and your birthday only come around once a year.  Yet, in socialism, everyday gets to be Christmas.  With socialism, you deserve to get birthday gifts on the days it's someone else's birthday, in fact you get to unwrap their presents.

Also, socialism somehow proposes that a group of people can put their combined resources in a blender and everyone will drink the same frozen concoction.  Or simply put, socialism wants everyone to bear all the burdens the same, except for the people who have stored up more wealth and resources, then they should give a greater percentage of their share.  Or better yet, the wealthiest people should feel the same sting we lower class people feel when it comes to paying taxes.

Let me share a little secret with you, Bill Gates, the Walton family, along with Warren Buffet and you and me, we leave it all behind.  You can't take it with you when you go, but you can stand before the living God and explain to Him how you used your resources in life, or how you hid them.  Really, socialism is trying to replace God, it's trying to make decisions for people that only God makes, if I'm understanding the underlying appeal of socialism as the idea socialism will make everyone with more, give more.  Sounds a bit envious to me?

And, let me share one more secret with you who are envious of the wealthy.  Well two more secrets for you who are envious of the wealthy.  Number one, if you are reading this, you are probably wealthier than 95% of the entire world's population, those poor people who don't have electricity, running water, or the internet.  Number two, and a little harder hitting, Jesus, who never had a place to rest His head, told people it would be best to give away everything they owned and to follow Him, to not store up any treasures, but to seek the Kingdom.  So Jesus warned people of the dangers of wealth and of trusting wealth more than God.  Jesus says it's hard for rich people to get into heaven, nearly impossible.  Let that one sink in for awhile, for those of us who are richer than 95% of the world that is.

Our four sons are hard working young men in whom I'm very proud.  Even though I didn't share this idea with them when they were young, that is that no one is immune from effort, they still have a great work ethic.  I do wish I had shared this idea with them earlier in life, because I think this fact would have helped to better prepare them mentally or emotionally to face the challenges of hard work a little bit better.  It's not bleak or pessimistic to say life is hard and we all have to work hard, it's reality, and it's based in part in the character of God.

I think we as a nation have selfish, spoiled people and an unprepared generation that isn't equipped to face the reality, we all have to work.  Please take a look at 3 much shorter posts I wrote on socialism to gain a fuller perspective on my thoughts on the subject as well.

Who would want socialism?

The seduction of socialism

The logjam of socialism

"1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation." (Source unknown)

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