Friday, April 22, 2005

But, I deserve it...

I'd mentioned a bit ago that I'd throw in a post about this entitlement society that we've developed around us. Well here it is.

There are people around us who need help. Some are desperate for it. One of the reasons that we have a collective government is to collectively help one another, at least that's one of the powers that we've given to it. A governmental welfare system is not a bad thing, but the methods of implementing such a thing can be. This is where most of the discussion falls when it comes to this arena. That's not what this post is about though.

One of the unfortunate outgrowths of any kind of helping program, whether set up by the state government, local government, churches, private organizations, or whomever is that there is a section of society which I term "takers". The takers in society seek ways to get along in life without having to put much, if any, effort in at all. If there is a free handout to be had, they are there. It is this "taker" mentality that ruins good programs such as welfare and financial assistance. Of course, this is nothing new, the federal government has been battling this for years.

We battle this here in Windham though, and perhaps more than we think. There are many organizations in the area who willingly help people, many times without question. There's the Salvation Army collecting change and donating food to people, the Church of Christ out on Wolf Road that has some clothing assistance, Shepherd's Joy helps those who need it, the Catholic church has its financial assistance programs to help with paying bills. These groups (and many others) are stretched thin because of the multitude of people making requests for assistance. Sometimes its the same people month after month. Perhaps we should be asking ourselves why? What is it about Windham that separates it from other communities that cause them to have less need than we have here? Is it the local economy? Is it the lack of public transportation way up here in the northeast corner of Portage County? Or is it a far more troubling problem?

Have some of us forgotten how to make a living?

We've all heard stories of the guy who lives in his parents' basement until he's 32 because he doesn't want to get a real job. Who knows if its actually true? I personally know of many situations where a man doesn't have a job because he never quite finds the time to go out and find one. He's depressed himself into believing that there's nothing out there that "fits" him. My dad worked in a steel mill for thirty years and never really liked his job. They went on strike a couple of times, which made things hard. He did it anyway, because he knew that he had a family to take care of. He had been taught that you don't always get to do what you want to do, and sometimes you just have to suck it up and do what you don't like. The "takers" don't see it that way.

For them, the world owes them something, perhaps just for gracing all of us with their presence. It is not too much of a shift from "at least I know I can go to them for help" over to "you've helped me before, now I need more". Has there been any effort to improve the situation from month to month? There's something to be said for being satisfied with how life is right now, but at the same time, we should not stop striving to improve ourselves. I think that this is the solution to the problem.

We have to try to make our tomorrow better than our today.

Inherent in the solution is another problem though. How do we get people who have neglected to improve themseves to start once again? Is ending the assistance the quick fix to the problem? In some cases, yes. In others, definitely no. There's no easy answer for that problem. I wish I had it really.

I guess that's why we're all here. We want to learn, and hopefully, in the learning process, we can take the good advice, filter out all the nonsense, and make our tomorrow better. Take the time to convince someone else to do the same tomorrow.

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