Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Different Perspective

I guess I am just one of these people who was born out of time. I believe that hard work pays off. I believe that you should treat people with kindness and respect, not only because God tells us to, but because it is the right thing to do. I believe that the people should support the government, not the other way around. I believe that food and meal time should be a joy, and not just something to keep your body alive. And I believe that every action, every decision, every desire of every person, affects everyone else .

Work is hard. Otherwise it wouldn't be called work. If something isn't difficult to achieve, we just don't value it. For instance, 2 people of very different social classes, decide they want or need a barn. The poorer of the two has to build it himself while the rich man hires a contractor to build it. The poor man saves his money, asks for salvaged materials, plans extensively so that the barn will do everything he needs or might need for the future. It takes him several months to gather supplies, prepare the building site, and build the barn. It rains, it is hot, it is cold, he bashes his thumb with a hammer a few times, but finally the barn is finished. It may not be pretty, but it is dry and will do what he needs it to do.

The rich man only has to pick up the phone and call a contractor. The contractor comes out with his crew, prepares the site and builds the barn. It takes about a week, then they are gone. The Rich man fills the barn with all of the things that should be in a barn, then stops thinking about it at all.

The rich man never lifted a finger to build his barn. To him it is simply a building. To the poor man, it is an extension of himself, something that he provided at his own expense to better himself, his animals, and his property. He works in it every day. He sees the condition of the walls, the floor, the roof. He will repair anything that needs to be fixed. He adds on to it as needed, because you see, it has to last. He cannot afford to build another one. He values the building, not just because he needs a barn, but because his sweat went into the construction. And his barn is probably more solidly built and of better quality than the barn of the rich man who paid someone who doesn't care about it.

Hard work creates value and self worth. It makes you feel good about something and yourself.

Being kind should be a no brainer. There are many admonitions in the Bible to be kind to others. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The story of the Good Samaritan. Just to name a couple. But seriously, wouldn't the world be a better place if every one were kind to each other? Smile at a stranger. Help someone who is struggling. Take a meal to a sick friend. Do any of these things hurt you in any way? No. But they help someone else in ways that are beyond belief. That stranger you smile at walking down the street may have just gotten fired from their job and has to go home to tell their family the bad news. That smile may just give them the encouragement to apply for a job on the way home. The person that is struggling may be your elderly neighbor who is having trouble getting the trash can to the street every week. Your little bit of help may be the difference that keeps her from falling in the driveway and hurting herself. That meal you take to a co-worker when she is sick may feed her children so they don't have to go to bed without dinner. None of these things cost you much in either time or money, but by simply being kind, you have brightened the lives of others, who will in turn, be more willing to be kind to the people they meet. If everyone was kind to 1 person each day, it could change the world.

This country was created to give the people a nation where individual freedoms were considered an inalienable right. The governments sole duties were to provide security to the entirety of the nation and to provide the structural framework for a free society. And gradually, over the last 236 years, the people have asked the government to do more and more of the things we should be doing for ourselves, mostly because we don't want to be bothered with it.

Your granny is old and sick and can't really live by herself any more. So instead of moving her in with you, you sign her Medicare check over to a nursing home and move her in there. She will get minimal care, but they will make sure she gets her meds and someone will check on her every few hours and you will not be burdened by having to deal with her. You live in a small town where there are not many jobs. You have always always lived there and don't want to move or get the education you need to get one of the few jobs there are available. So you get the government to provide you with a welfare check. It pays the bills and provides you with some money for food. Your children see that you get a check every month without having to work for it, so they don't bother working either when they come of age.

The people in a small town want want to be able to commute to work in the city a little faster, so the contact their State Legislators to get a better highway. The bill passes and the highway is built. But it also raises their taxes, but only a little bit. The tax money more than pays for the highway but the tax doesn't go away. Then someone wants to upgrade the civic center. So the taxes go up to pay for it. But the tax doesn't go away after the building is paid for.

Over time, all of those taxes provide the government with a lot of money to use at their discretion. Some of the money is used for the good of the people as a whole. But a goodly portion of it is used for things that only benefit a select few. Our tax money is being used to support programs that are either not necessary, are beneficial to only a few, or are to the detriment of society as a whole. Our tax burden on the whole is many many MANY times higher than what triggered the Boston Tea Party. And yet, no one complains. It makes me rather sad.

As a society, we have gotten away from cooking meals ourselves. With the advent of inexpensive drive thru service, it is easier and faster to just pick up some questionable food from a chain restaurant or pick up the phone for take out. Our busy, hectic lives prevent us from having the time to spend an hour or so making a good healthy meal and enjoying it with family and friends. A home cooked meal has become a luxury. Is it any wonder the Old World countries where meals are prepared at home look down on us for our eating habits?

I try to cook our meals myself at least 5 or 6 nights a week, health permitting. I know the quality of the food we eat, and can make sure that we are all getting the proper amount of vegetables and fruits we need. I try to grow as much of our food as possible and what I can't grow, I try to buy locally. I generally do not buy mixes and kits for the things we eat because they are loaded with salt and preservatives. My children had rather eat a meal that I prepare than to spend a lot of money to eat out. It makes me feel good to know that they understand the difference in quality that a home cooked meal provides because the secret ingredient is always Love.

And finally...

Your actions make a difference. You work hard at what you do. It gives you a feeling of accomplishment. That in turn makes you feel good about yourself and more willing to feel good about the things and people around you. And the effect is viral. The better you feel, the more those around you want to feel that way as well. If you don't work hard, that good feeling isn't spread around and everyone is simply plodding along. If you treat others with kindness and respect, they return the favor. If you treat others poorly, you will also be treated that way. If you tell the truth, no matter how hard that truth is to bear, you will receive the truth as well. When you want only the things you actually need or already have, then you are not wasting your resources for frivolous things. You can focus on Enough, and not on the media driven consumer driven compulsion to buy, you do not need a McMansion that you cannot afford to house all of your things that you don't need or even really want. You don't have to work every second of every day to be able to pay the credit card bills for all the things you have bought. You have time to actually be a parent and spouse. You have time to do the things that make you feel good about yourself. And you have time to sit down at the table to a home cooked meal, prepared with Love.

Unfortunately, none of these things are very common in the fast paced society we now live in. We do not have time to sit and think about the things we do and how it effects ourselves and others. We have become greedy with our time, our money, and our feelings toward others. We all want MORE, without having to give of ourselves in return.

Well, I for one, will not live that way. I challenge the WORLD to join me.

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