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the joy of work

Useless people avoid activities they perceive as work. Adding value to their lives, others’, and/or their community smack of labor to be eschewed in lieu of things that are “fun”. Fun is apparently defined as doing the same dang things with the signature element of providing no value to anyone.

I am probably being over-broad, likely even cynical, but the granddaughter regularly pestering me to drive the garden tractor around for fun is a good example of today’s teen mentality. “You can drive it around AFTER you have mowed the lawn with it”. Grandma mowed the lawn because the grass was getting too tall while the kid seems to hold being useless as her highest goal. I would have forced the issue, but am not in charge of this particular child’s upbringing… or grandma’s enabling.

Two generations ago we worked to earn money if we wanted to buy anything our parents did not consider among our bare essentials. Parents who survived The first Great Depression were rather restrictive in what qualified as necessities. Stupid smart phones, uber-expensive artfully torn jeans, junk food, designer name brands, electronic toys and many more frivolities that are the basic load-out for today’s teens would not have gotten off the ground had parents learned the timeless lesson of raising productive, responsible adults:
You want it, Earn it.

Get paid for providing utility to someone who can pay you for it. Save your money for things you value. Budget and prioritize your time and money to get what you want. How many of today’s kids would have afforded the toys and ‘stylin’ the current batch does?

More importantly, how many are prepared to handle anything life dishes out beyond the easy life they are accustomed to?

How many of today’s teens look far enough down the road to see that A) they most likely have to work for a living as an adult, and B) if they do not count on that, plan for it, and choose intelligently, they may not enjoy the productive years of their lives.

Quite likely by grand design, they will cheerfully move from under the wings of their parents to the welcoming arms of The Corporate State with jobs assigned to them by nameless, faceless bureucrats. Neither they nor their parents read Ayn Rand’s Anthem, but that is the world they are heading for.

The alternative, as alluded to in my title is to expect to do useful stuff at all stages of our lives and find simple pleasures in jobs well done and the joy of creating value for ourselves and others. Experiencing being useful and gainful employment during the exploratory, creative years is far more likely to deliver they youth into an adult working at something they chose for themselves and enjoy doing.

The art of being helpful is just as valuable to a community as that of craftsmen in wood, metal or music. The variety of activities that can be fun for the doer and enjoyed by others has no limit but the creativity, desire and productivity of the individual.