What Lessons Will They Learn?

photo courtesy of costonscomplaint.blogspot.com

photo courtesy of costonscomplaint.blogspot.com

My heart is weighing heavy today as I watch the leaders of my country play tug-of-war with the national purse strings.

In a nation so divided it is hard to feel secure about our leaders doing the right thing.  But then, doing the right thing for one person may be quite different for another.  As a teacher, I often had to help mediate between student disagreements.  What proved to be most effective was to establish an agreed upon truth of what created the conflict.  Once that was established these young children could resolve the conflict based on regulations and a sense of fairness.

As individuals, we all have our own personal financial situations and it is normal for an individual to modify expenses when their income changes.  If we make more money, we eat out more frequently, buy coffees and take more vacations.  When we make less, we pack a sack lunch, use travel mugs for our “home brewed” coffee and stay closer to home.  These are all rational responses to financial changes.  But not everyone is rational when it comes to the give and take of money.

A few years back I was working hard to make a decent wage.  Debts were non-existent and I was in a really comfortable and secure position.  It was a pretty good gig.  On the other hand, my next door neighbor who had hardly worked a day in her life, lived off of welfare and social security and did everything she could to help her two adult children get on social security.  None of them worked or even tried to work, they drank (cases at a time), watched TV and ate junk food.  At the beginning of each month they’d take a taxi to the store to get groceries and would have “take out” food every day.

The process of them getting on social security cost the tax payers a lot of expensive medical tests, tests that I couldn’t get through my own medical insurance.  The medical recommendations were ignored resulting in actual physiological issues validating their inability to work.  Some of these were to stop smoking and drinking, (person was receiving oxygen) which they would not do.  None of the four members of the family contributed to the system which they so eagerly received services from.  At least once a month an ambulance came to the house to take one of the members to the hospital.

Simply taking from those who have more is not fair nor does it solve the problem.

We need to cut down on expenses in addition to raising the taxes.  But at the same time we need to look at where we are wasting money or where we are allowing fraud to occur.  What lessons are we teaching our children if we don’t handle our fiscal responsibilities in our government?  What lesson do we teach them if we allow them to get something for nothing?  What do they lose when we do this?

They lose pride in themselves for a sense of accomplishment. They lose the toughness that comes from enduring hardship and pulling together as families and friends to help each other. Strength and courage have always been desirable traits yet we so often have the mindset that our children should not have to experience some of the things we have experienced.  We want to protect them from hardship.  Can we really do that?

I look at some of the hardships that my grandparents went through, The Depression, WWI and WWII and all of the things they did without because it simply wasn’t there or because there was a greater need as in rationing during war time.  These are honorable acts done for the good of the country.  We need to take these examples and apply them to our current scene.

What we do today affects us in the future.  Our leaders are supposed to represent us.  Can we get together and do what’s good for the country? Can we BE the UNITED states?

When I was growing up, I was certain that we were truly a super power.  Now there is talk of the US losing that super power status. Extending the debt limit is not a good thing!  The term “fiscal cliff” has become popularized.  It is only one of the many cliffs we have created that threatens to weaken our strength as a country.  It is the division between the right and the left which will cause our undoing.  Can we all step back for a minute and look at what it will take for us to survive as a nation?  I do believe that there is a middle ground which can assist both sides…if we have the courage to take it.