The source of self esteem

It’s bad for me to watch too much news. Gloom and doom abound. I am well aware that the ’50’s were good times in most of America. Even into the ’60’s worry was minimal in my home. It’s sort of been down hill from there. In those years we finished our educations, married and had a child. We looked toward buying our first home, and brand new employment. Most of our choices in the ensuing years were good. Our progress was typical of middle class achievement thanks to the investment in us of parents who thought everyone needed to reach toward their own success. Do it yourself and look back on your effort with pride. So we did.

College was heavily promoted and paid for out of pocket. There were government student loans which eventually were paid off, ditto for our daughter. So for a fairly long period that choice was made and the cost shouldered. “Free” was unthinkable, since college was a choice and not mandatory. We can readily see, looking back, that serious study and unswerving commitment to the choice meant not disappointing our parents, who paid that price, and that nose to the grindstone was a requirement.

My husband attended and graduated from a tech school,  a co-op where students worked/schooled in rotation, so that much of the work period income contributed to the cost of schooling, alleviating some of the burden on his parents. We never dreamed that thirty years later he’d be back in school for his EMBA, funded by his company in toto.  He worked all week, then attended classes on weekends for two years. I hardly saw him. The payoff for that commitment was huge.

I listened to a student named Darletta Scruggs on Neil Cavuto, fully believing she is his equal. For Darletta, everything should be free where school is concerned and the rest of us who paid for our own should pay for hers. If you believe her, all things are too hard for today’s crop of students. I submit that that is untrue. I know diligent and capable young graduates who are making quite a success of themselves, not looking for someone to do it for them. Those will be the leaders of the world, not Darletta.

Make no mistake: Darletta is not lacking in the smarts department. But she misses the important things: work is good. Achievement never happens without it. Personal pride is not a present in a package just handed over for use. It is earned. Right up there with self-esteem, “self” being the operative word. There is merit in what we used to understand: working toward a goal is a benefit in itself. Sweat of the brow,  you know.

At first I was irritated.  She seemed to just want a handout. But that’s not what she’s about. Socialism is. Her rage at the 1 per cent is palpable. Who are they, she asks, to be so rich when so many are so poor?  I would ask her a basic: where is it written that you are entitled to anyone else’s money? Most people I know who have way more than a shekel or two are already sharing their good fortune and at relatively high rates. They give readily and in silence. They don’t march with banners declaring their contributions to their fellow Americans. They just do it. They look for opportunities to do it. They are not Rockefellers or Kochs, just ordinary Americans  rowing their own boats. They make the wheel go around. They are also generous to a fault. I’m not the only one who knows this kind of person. I think they are legion. And unsung. Ready and willing to help. But here’s what they don’t like. They don’t enjoy being told they need to tolerate anyone’s hand in their pocket. Darletta would promote that in a heartbeat because she believes sincerely in spreading the wealth. Specifically your wealth, if she can get it.


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