There was a time in this land when people worked hard, sacrificed and set things aside to make life better for the next generation. Our parents and grandparents and forefathers wanted us to have every advantage possible to live in this land of freedom with abundant opportunity. Their work ethic and frugal ways set the stage for our nation, the most prosperous in the world. They did everything possible to secure our future. They were the greatest generation.
Will we pass along those same values to our children and grandchildren? Will they enjoy a lifestyle better than we had? Will we give them a country better off than we were handed, a world more stable, resources more abundant, the opportunity to dream even bigger dreams? Or will they spend their lives paying for our excesses, mistakes, complacency, and lack of concern for their futures?
It seems that the pendulum has swung away from the values our parents and their parents once embraced. We, in turn, are saddling our kids and their children with debt. And worse, the values we are sharing with them are values of indulgence and greed, when faced with tough choices to take the easier path. We are becoming a nation of selfishness, entitlements and excessiveness.
The examples are everywhere. Look no further than our political system and money that will be spent in the upcoming elections or the fact that our government hasn’t passed a budget in three years and they certainly aren’t likely to have one this year during an election cycle. Look at the obesity rate in this country, the types of food we are eating, and the decline in the number of family farms that have disappeared across the land. The federal government is even considering new labor laws that could prohibit or seriously limit 4-H and FFA members from working on farms and doing many of the jobs that are common practice and taken for granted when you grow up on a farm. It will also affect other farm kids, such as neighbors, grandchildren, and other relatives who would not be allowed to help with many farm tasks when they come to visit or just help out on the farm. Good old fashion hard work isn’t undignified; it builds character, appreciation and self respect.
Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.