I, like many in my generation, were blessed with parents from America's greatest generation. They taught us wholesome values: knowing right from wrong, taking responsibility for our actions and working hard to succeed in life. They were the men and women of all races, nationalities and religions who survived the "Great Depression" and World War II. We learned so much from them.
The one very important lesson my parents' generation taught us was to accept responsibility for our actions, be it sports, studies, or daily living. In other words, we learned that excuses are worthless rationalizations. We were also exposed to failure and rejection during our formative years. Sports examples would include losing that all-important championship game or match and/or being cut from the team, which happened to yours truly at a very young age.
Unfortunately, many of today's younger generation are being shielded from failure and rejection by their parents, coaches, etc. Moreover, they are often awarded outrageous trophies or other rewards for participation, even though they loafed at baseball practices and often didn't show up for games.
Such "well-meaning" parents and/or other contemporary adults don't realize that they are creating a future generation who will expect things handed to them, having never been exposed to disappointment as children. This could lead to what has been referred to as "future shock." In other words, protecting kids by not allowing them to experience negative outcomes will only make their transition into adult-living that much more difficult.
The above phenomenon is only a microcosm of what our federal government's entitlement programs have attempted to do. The government has decided to act as the surrogate parent for those Americans who need assistance. But the government went too far, becoming a crutch for the impoverished. They made the recipients too comfortable, with no need to care about succeeding in life.
Allow me to explain.
As Americans, we all want to help our fellow citizens. The goal is to get them on their feet again so they can make it on their own, feeling good about themselves. But our government has taken away any desire for them to become productive citizens.
Think about it; if you were given all of the needs for living money, food, housing and free medical care from doctors and hospitals - would you want to give up all these perks by accepting an employment position that doesn't even come close to what the government offers?
I think not. And neither would I.
The brutal truth is there's no incentive for these federal government beneficiaries to want to drop out of such lucrative programs.
In essence, the federal government's bloated entitlement programs have taken away their recipients' self-esteem, self-respect and dignity, morphing them into unproductive individuals just existing in our society.
They say the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. Our present government's social welfare system is a vivid example of the above quote. And I see it only getting worse.
To use an analogy, consider this true story a friend of mine, Ken Demuth, shared with me many years ago.
The Emperor Moth
A man found a cocoon of an Emperor Moth and took it home so he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon. One day a small opening appeared. The man sat and watched the moth for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.
Then it seemed to stop making any progress. To the man it appeared as if the moth had gotten as far as it could in breaking out of the cocoon and was stuck. So out of sincere kindness, the man decided to help the moth.
He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon so that the moth could get out. Soon the moth emerged, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch the moth, expecting that in time the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would simultaneously contract to its proper size.
In fact, that little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly.
The man in his unwitting kindness and haste did not understand that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body into the wings. Thus, the moth would be ready for flight once it gallantly achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Just as the moth could only achieve freedom and flight as a result of struggling, we often need to struggle to become all we were intended to be.
Sometimes we wish that God would remove our struggles and take away all the obstacles; but just as the man crippled the Emperor Moth, so we would be crippled if God did that for us.
God doesn't take away our problems and difficulties, but He promises to be with us in the midst of them and to use them to restore us, molding us into better and stronger human beings.
Yes, my friends, the "struggle is the glory" not over-indulgent governmental hand outs!
Welker, of Wheeling, is a retired reading specialist who was a K-12 classroom teacher for 40 years. He was selected as a "Teacher of the Year" by the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce. He also is a nationally recognized authority on amateur wrestling who has written hundreds of articles and two books on the subject. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.