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Values, Youth and Our Future

Editorial by Bobby Tingle

I heard on the radio today that only 62 percent of the workforce is employed or looking for a job. That means 38 percent of those who could work either can’t find a jog or refuse to accept available work. Who takes care of those who refuse to work?

As I made my rounds this week, I had an enjoyable conversation with a client. We sat in his office, the rain pouring outside, and discussed raising children. His grandson visited his home recently and was most proud of one of his toys. The youngster even claimed it was his favorite. Later grandpa learned the child’s parents used the child’s desire to acquire the toy as a teachable moment. The parents actually made the child work for the toy. Any money the child earned from chores or money acquired from gifts was placed in a piggy bank. Once enough accumulated, mom emptied the bank, took the money to a pawn shop, found the desired toy and bought it. It is now a prized possession of this young man. He enjoys playing with it, takes care of it, puts it up when he is done with it and brags to grandpa about how much he likes it.

I wonder if there is a lesson in that for all adults who have a hand in raising children? I wonder if this child understands the value of work and possessions? Does it hurt a child to work for something, wait for something or do without something no matter how much they want it? Can a child learn the value of possessions, caring for personal property, maintaining personal property and to appreciate personal property?

If this grandpa’s story is any indication, then obviously they can.

Do we do a disservice to children by giving them things? Yes, I think we do. There is nothing wrong with gifts and caregivers are obligated to provide basic needs. But often the limits are exceeded to the child’s harm.

I also think we do a disservice to those who receive benefits for doing nothing. When an otherwise able-bodied unemployed individual receives a check for doing nothing there is an inherent disincentive to work. Cutoff the gravy train and their behavior will have to change.

I have heard this general concept called ‘tough love’. It is definitely the best approach. It is insane to think we can continue down the path of providing all things to all people, free.

A co-worker ranted a bit today about a Texas school that decided they will not allow honor graduates, those who have performed at the top of their class academically, those who chose to hit the books, study and prepare for tests and whose grades show it, to make that honor known at their graduation. The colored cords and stoles that signify their achievement will not be allowed. Everybody must look the same.

Are they going to give out diplomas or participation plaques?

What is strange about that is at the same time athletes are out competing in the playoffs. When two teams meet one wins and the other loses. One advances and the other goes home.

Why can there be winners and losers on the athletic field but not in the pursuit of academic achievement?

We harm children, we turn them into dependents, and those always expect to be given everything if we don’t teach them otherwise.

I fear one day we will see only 50 percent of the workforce employed or looking for a job. As the percentage continues to decline less and less will be produced to provide for the others. That is unsustainable.

I suggest we teach our children the value of work and achievement. If we do, the future will be better for all.

 

Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. He can be reached at bobby.tingle@orangeleader.com