Today is the beginning of National Library Week.
I love children’s classics – Dr. Seuss and even Dick, Jane and Sally. The authors of the children’s classics knew that adults would be reading these books to children; therefore they needed to build value into the books for the adults as well. There was often a moral lesson to be gleaned from the pages of a good children’s book.
Take for instance, The Little Red Hen.
For those of you who may not be familiar, I’ll summarize the story very quickly. The Little Red Hen decided to plant wheat and invited her friends (the duck, the goose, the cat and the pig) to help with the work.
The duck, the goose, the cat and the pig declined until it was time to eat the bread that she made from the wheat. At that time EVERYONE wanted to join in on the rewards of her labor.
The Little Red Hen decided that since she did all the work, she was the only one who got to eat the bread.
Do you blame the Little Red Hen? Do you feel guilty when you act like her?
Do you feel bad when you enjoy the rewards of your efforts while others stand by and watch?
Worse yet, are you a duck, cat, horse or pig? Do you feel that you are OWED a living even if you did nothing to earn it?
Charity is good
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are people who have fallen into hard times through no fault of their own.
We are obligated to help them. But even so, we should be helping them to fish, not merely giving them fish.
We should all donate to charity in the form of time or money, however charity should be helping people to become self-sufficient, not enabling them to be eternally dependent on others.
But we are not obligated to give up the fruits of our labors to those who REFUSE to help themselves, nor should we feel guilty when we enjoy the bread we worked for.
What to do about ducks
Over the holiday I ran into a 20 year old high-school dropout. He didn’t feel like going to high school because it was boring and he had to get up too early in the morning, etc. so he dropped out.
Like many young men in his age group, he is going to become a hip-hop star.
While he is waiting for the record contract to drop out of the sky, he spends his days in his room playing video games and watching TV. His mother works to support him.
He does not even do dishes or laundry. His mother comes home every day to a filthy house.
At first glance, you may think that the 20 year-old is to blame. He is because his lifestyle is his choice.
But, Mama is just as much to blame because she provides him with daily entertainment and gives him money every day.
She is even paying for his GED.
What is the duck going to do if Mama is no longer capable of working and providing for him?
Become the Little Red Hen
Mama needs to become the Little Red Hen and turn off the cable, cell phone (Mama pays that bill, too) and sell the video game system to pay for his GED. She needs to make him earn his keep by doing chores around the house. Even then she needs to limit the amount of money she gives him.
Before you get upset, there are few 20 year olds who are capable of supporting themselves in this economy, so you don’t put them into the street.
But, everyone over the age of 18 should be productive in some way. Go to school, get a job or spend the day looking for the job (yes all day) and help out around the house you are living in.
The Little Red Hen should not feel guilty for enjoying her bread and requiring that the duck earn his bread, too.