Friday, March 7, 2014

Take Back Your Pride

Dad enjoying the peacefulness of his backyard
It was 1961 in Korea. I was five years away from being born, my parents four years away from being married. My dad was in the army and while working on a jeep, the engine fell. He had been holding a bar at the time, which slipped when the engine fell and cracked him in the back, literally. He developed a hairline crack in his back, which caused him to have to wear a Jewett back brace later in life. When I saw the device, I was reminded of contraptions they sometimes revealed on cheesy science fiction movies. It was the first step in turning my father into a robot, I thought.

At the time, he remained in the Army, finishing out his tour. When he came home, he married my mother and a year later I arrived. Surprise! He then went into construction, eventually owning his own drywall company for close to twenty years. During those years, I watched him perform daring stunts that would cause OSHA to shut the job down. He would walk on stilts along a two-by-four that was nailed into a wall over a twenty foot drop over concrete stairs. He hung from scaffolds and dared ladders to collapse on him. He would have made a circus performer applaud with the death-defying feats he managed on stilts and other equipment all in the name of getting the job done. He lifted large sheets of sheetrock, holding it in place with his head while screwing it to the framework of the house. All while wearing his brace.

My father had a work ethic that seems to have faded in today’s society. Now, if you have read my blog for very long you know that I am not a career minded individual. Careers are to fund your life, not be your life. However, when it is time to work, it is time to work. My father was in pain. Hell, his back had a crack in it. Yet, he believed it was his responsibility to provide for his family and was not about to rely on the government or any other agency to do it for him. He was a husband and a father, but more than that, he was a man.

He passed this ethic down to his son. I have worked two or three jobs at a time if necessary in order to provide for my family, doing what needed to be done in order to pay the bills and maintain our household. My children have learned this trait from their father. Each one will bust their gut to do what must be done. When it is time to work, you work. You earn the money that is given to you. You do not just stand there with your hand out whining about how cruel life is. That does not mean that it is wrong to receive assistance, so don’t read that wrong. It does mean that if you are asking for help, you should be doing everything within your power to help yourself as well. The government does not owe you. Your neighbors do not owe you. Your family does not owe you.

Life does not owe you.
A Jewett Brace

Furthermore, it is not just a male characteristic. I know some may have read that and thought I was Vice President Biden trying to keep the women tucked inside the home, barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. That is not the case. I have great respect for women who work their hardest to help provide for their family so they do not have to depend on anyone else. Single moms quite often pull the entire weight in a household with deadbeat exes that shirk their responsibility. Families have both parents working to make ends meet and provide for their children. These people work. They know in order to have a better life, they have to go out and earn it. They do not expect to be catered to by whatever benefits they think the government owes them. Quite often the ones receiving these handouts are not old enough to have earned a quarter of what they are receiving.

People need to take back their pride. They need to cease searching for the quick way out. Work doesn’t kill you; it improves you. If my father could do it with a cracked back, then others can as well. The only thing wrong with some people is that they are just pure lazy. They want to be taken care of as opposed to working. These people have no pride in themselves or the things around them.

Take help if it is truly needed, but don’t take more than what is needed. Make a life for yourself and have pride in the fact that you did it and not Uncle Sam. It’s a matter of pride, your pride, and that is too costly to lose.

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