Some times I think we, as Americans, fall into the trap of believing we are very special.
STOP! Before you start railing about how special “America” is without reading the rest of my thoughts, let me finish.
Yes, America, our country is a very special nation because we were founded on a very special set of beliefs and rules of law laid out in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
I would even say we are the most blessed people on the face of the earth.
What I’m talking about is the idea that many people have that they deserve more or better just because they exist.
I recently spent a week at Scout camp and overheard a very interesting conversation between a father and son at dinner in the dining hall.
Paraphrased, it went something like this.
Son: “Dad can we drive down to Chester and get a pizza?”
Dad: “Why isn’t there enough to eat? They’ll probably have seconds.”
Son: “No, this spaghetti isn’t like moms, I just can’t eat it and the bread sticks are too hard.”
Dad: “Well, try to eat what you can and if it’s not enough I’ll get us a pizza.”
I was so tempted to say something, but trying to be a courteous Scout I simply bit my lip and let it pass.
Later as I reclined on my cot and reflected on the day’s events, my ire once again raised its ugly head as I recalled that conversation.
“What a spoiled little brat” was my first knee jerk reaction with a follow-up of, “What is this kid going to do when he finally has to move out of the house at age 30, stop eating spaghetti for the rest of his life because it’s not like moms?”
Maybe a little over the top, but I am so tired of listening to people whine about how things should be better for them.
Especially when compared to statements by others that the camp food was better than they had experienced at other camps in several years.
Maybe it’s a matter of perspective. If you expect everything to be like mom’s you will probably be disappointed with something different.
If you gauge experiences on their own merit, they may be different, but perfectly acceptable.
Even on the national or international stage I hear politicians opining about how we need to raise the level of living for so many of the “underprivileged.”
I won’t get into the debate about “deserving vs. working” or the “I’m a victim” syndrome.
In the United States the 2019 “poverty level” for a household of three was set at $21,330 thereby qualifying that family for a myriad of state and federal assistance programs.
In comparison, a family of three in South Africa earns about $5,340 a year; in Vietnam about $1,775 and in India around $616 annually.
Without any assistance, families in those countries could live like kings on $21,300.
Keep in mind that the poverty-level American family also has indoor plumbing, clean running water, public transportation and probably a TV, microwave, cell phone and numerous other items that some in other countries have never seen.
Some might say I am looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, but I disagree.
I learned most of my social convictions from my grandfather who started out as a blacksmith and with the changing world, ended up in law enforcement.
Simple things like, “Always work for what you want,” “If you always do the right thing, you can never be wrong,” and “Treat others the way you want to be treated” were old time cliché sayings that he used and lived by.
Personally, I don’t think they are one bit cliché in terms of being overused, I think they are absolute truisms and if they were used and lived by more often we wouldn’t whine quite so much.
I spend so much time being thankful that I live in a country where I can enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Where I can actually express my beliefs in a piece like this without fear of being persecuted or prosecuted by a tyrannical government.
Where I can live a life based on the labors of my hands and mind, giving thanks to God for the blessing I receive along the way.
And we have the audacity to whine and complain about how tough we have it. I think not.