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Why America Doesn’t Work

In 1992, Charles Colson and Jack Eckerd wrote a book with the same title.  Their concern then and mine now is the lack of work ethic and integrity.  I am very much afraid the situation has worsened rather than improved in the last 25 years.  In our attempt to create a ‘better’ (happier) world for our children we have handicapped them and the next generation as well.

Some of my childhood memories include: Growing up in a busy family – music, sports, scouting, work, school and civic responsibilities.  But I also remember Saturday mornings were dedicated to house work – all 7 of us!  We cleaned the house… together!  My first ‘regular’ job was what some call a ‘McJob’, but I learned a lot – teamwork, customer service and adjusting to changes at a moment’s notice.  McDonald’s had a saying that has stuck in my mind for the last 45 years. “If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.” Whether a two hour lunch service or eight hour shift, we were expected to work the entire time – either serving the customer in some way or cleaning our area.  Then there was the time when I was given the responsibility to mow our lawn and I was going to get to it…really I was!  But about 4 o’clock that summer afternoon, I heard the lawnmower running.  My dad after getting home from his very physical job, was mowing the lawn while I was lounging in the air conditioned basement watching TV.  Oh the guilt that hit me that day and Dad wouldn’t let me take over the mowing – which just made it worse.

You realize that work was a part of Paradise, not a result of the curse? Adam and Eve were given work to do in a perfect environment.  Jeremiah said, “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.”  And Solomon’s book on wisdom (Proverbs) has many verses on the virtues of hard work as well as condemning the sluggard.

That’s what I see in our America, a lot of sluggards.  In our attempt to make a happy childhood for our kids we have created a dependent generation.  We give them a false sense of reality when we fill their young lives with entertainment and allow them to bypass the lessons of hard work.  Most of our kids are not going to be professional ball players, gamers or have servants taking care of the household responsibilities – the stuff required for life.  They will have jobs where they will work 50-60 hours a week to make ends meet… or they will sit on the couch playing video games while the government takes care of them.

Paul told the Ephesians, “And ye fathers… bring them (your children) up…”  It means to ‘rear up to maturity, to train’, to train them to handle life.  You only have eighteen years to get the job done, Dad, Mom.  If your child continues in the pattern you have set for them now, will they be able to handle life by then?  Will your child be a contributor to society or one who will siphon off the wealth created by others?

Think about it.