HELP IS VOLUNTARY NOT ENTITLED: WHY WE THINK PEOPLE ARE SUPPOSED TO HELP AND NOT OFFER

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“You want it, go get it; no one owes you anything.”


Growing up being babysat by my grandmother and great grandmother, you learn a lot about how they had to grow up during their time periods. You were expected to go into the world and work your behind off, no excuses. And these were people coming out of Jim Crow south where opportunities were so vastly scarce for African Americans. See, my great grandmother was part of the G.I. Generation and my grandmother was a member of the Silent Generation. Two back to back tough generations in the United States of hard working Americans. Since both of them have passed away, I often think about how they would view so much of what’s going on right now with regards to every kid getting a trophy. To an extent I know how they felt, because I have always heard no one owes you anything in this world.

So what has taken hold that makes so many of a young generation feel they are owed something in life? One of the problems is this whole notion that my 75% is your 100%. And the underlying issue is that when we both step out into society, your 75% is 75% and my 100% will propel me straight pass you. Then, the person who didn’t put forth the effort will live out their lives in bitterness. And a lot of the downward spiral could come from every kid gets trophy and making all young people believe they’re special. So when you step out into the world you have these visions for how your life and life itself is supposed to work and it just doesn’t work like that; it’s more complex. There is no real trajectory, and you could be taken anywhere at any point in time.

For those that have navigated the landscape and found their way into a stable situation, the thought is you’re supposed to reach back and help. And yes, if you are in a position to help that most are not; if you possess a certain degree of intellectualism, then you should want to help. But understand the difference between you should want to help and you should help. You should want is clearly a voluntary choice, while should help is more geared toward who owes you. Life is a place where you go out and try to stake your own claim. Too many people think that something is allotted to them by way of existing in this country. Which brings me to another reason why someone may feel it’s the successful person’s duty.

There is another piece to this give me something for nothing mentality and that is the welfare system. Men and women had it hard wired into the minds of their children that you had to get out and work. But the introduction of the welfare system made it possible for the government to dole out payment to every woman raising a child as a single parent without the father present. What was supposed to be aid as a stepping stone to help women get on their feet has inevitably turned into a crutch. The reality is, if no gives you even a slice of bread, it’s not their job to do so. That was understood over my parent’s generation and prior. But somewhere down the line we became comfortable as a country and lost that work ethic. In the end, no one not only owes you anything, but help is voluntary. Even if they never acknowledge you, it’s still on you to go get what’s yours in this world.


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