Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Choosing Generosity

I am a capitalist at heart, and any drift towards socialistic ideas or tendencies makes me nervous. For that reason, I am relieved that my state's Nancy Pelosi is no longer Speaker of the House, and that a measure of balance has been restored to our government.

I do understand the concerns of my liberal friends with good intentions who want to make sure that the less fortunate of our citizens are not left behind in this great country. I am concerned about these citizens as well, but I am also convinced that the old maxim is true: a hand up really does work much better than a hand-out. (I believe this applies both in my role as a parent and in my role as a citizen.) Enabling is enabling, and doing it is not a good idea for our children or our nation, either within or outside of our borders. Rather than building people, it weakens and disrespects them, assuming and subtly convincing them that they are not capable, thereby creating an unhealthy dependence that does not encourage growth or the self esteem and ambition that accompany it.

Here's the sticking point in acting out my philosophy, though, and you and I are the only ones who can do something about it. We need to remember that "not enabling" is entirely different from ignoring altogether. Citizens of a country that prefers to avoid socialistic solutions to very real problems must be vigilant, as individual citizens and groups of citizens, in providing appropriate support to those who need it. When people are down and out, and we have plenty of them all around us, we need to reach out and help them...without government mandate or interference. We need to give of ourselves as individuals, church members, and community volunteers to ensure that all of us are well served by living in this country.

If redistribution of wealth is wrong, and I believe it is, then redistribution of priorities is right. Those of us who are able (and grateful!) will need to redistribute our priorities to include those outside of our normal sphere of influence. Personally, I am not always good at this; too often, I get caught up in my immediate circle and fail to look beyond it for opportunities to serve. I have a blog friend, though, whose I am trying to follow...inspires me. If everyone were as socially conscious and compassionate as Valsy, much of the usually unproductive government spending to "help" people could fall by the wayside. After all, choosing to be generous precludes being forced, doesn't it?...And those who value the freedom inherent in not being forced would do better by giving freely and joyfully.

In the United States of America, November is all about gratitude. If I am truly grateful for everything I have, I will share it more mindfully with others. But I will share it in a way that undermines neither dignity nor self respect, neither self esteem nor the impetus to move forward. The people I help don't need to believe in me or my government; they need to believe in themselves.

The Time is Now

How does the child whose gift is hope,
whose eager hands and shining eyes
embrace the possibilities
and seek the prize

Become the child whose gift is lost
between the shadows and the years,
whose empty heart is framed in eyes
devoid of tears?

And who will hold the hands that reach?
And who will lift the heads that bow?

The answer lies within us all.
The time is now.

Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees (Hebrews 12:12).

Even the animal kingdom knows and fills the need:


Jocelyn Christensen said...

do you mean Nancy Pelosi?

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

What a thought provokin' and mindful post sweetie.

If we all truly were generous and saw to the needs of our brothers and sisters can you just imagine??? We wouldn't need to rely on the government quite as much, just our own brother or sister in Christ.

God bless you and have an amazing day!!! :o)

larainydays said...

Oh yeah. You are what I wish the national electorate looked like. Thanks Sue, well said.

Robert Brault said...

I applaud the spirit of your article, and I take from your verse my usual delight.

I would only suggest, cordially, that the redistribution of wealth that is today bringing America to its knees is not from the middle class to the poor but from the middle class to the rich. The extremism knocking at our door is not socialism but fascism. And both political parties are its tool. Both have allowed the monied interests to feed at the trough of the U.S. Treasury. Yesterday's results change nothing. The Tea Partiers have muddied their mission with cultural issues and racism and in the end will also be used as a tool. They are the modern-day "Mad as hell" protesters in the prophetic film, "Network," which 30 years ago predicted it all.

Sue, please pardon the rant. It's just something I feel strongly about. It doesn't mean that helping one's neighbor is not always relevant and always timely.


Susan Anderson said...

Yes, I did, Jocelyn. And I am officially losing my mind! (Needless to say, I lump the two of them together there, often.)

Robert, your well-articulated thoughts are always welcome here. And I don't disagree with all of what you are saying. I am not a tea partier, and I find Sarah Palin's popularity puzzling. I am just glad that Nancy Pelosi, who is far more liberal than I am, is not the Speaker of the House.

And I think that many of people's needs are better addressed by their fellow citizens than by the government.

What's more, I agree that both political parties are not only the tools of extremism at this point, but plain old "tools" in the uncomplimentary sense that my sons use the word.


Robert Brault said...

Your response is a little more congenial than I deserve for introducing a strident political tone into your blog when I carefully avoid it in my own. Thank you. I also say a delighted goodbye to Ms. Pelosi, but no more delighted than the farewells I bid to Tom Foley and Tip O'Neil. She is an old-style Democrat who lives to rob my savings, but she is no more the tool of big business than is John Boehner.


Darlene said...

Well said, Sue. I agree with every single thing you wrote. I just wish more people felt the same way you and I do. I want so much for our children to know and love the America that we experienced growing up.

This election has sent a clear message. I just wish it could have resounded just a little farther.

Em said...

I just want the state of Utah to allow me to pay for health insurance, despite using clomid for both of my babies. Instead, I am denied bc I am too much of a high risk. GARBAGE. everyone should have equal rights to health insurance.

karen said...

Well said, Sue. I think most Americans are inherently very generous, but (speaking for myself I guess) I don't know HOW to help or WHERE, unless it's right under my nose. I need to be more proactive in seeking ways to help and serve. I need to be more involved with my own community. Thanks for the timely reminder. You are right on.

Unknown said...

I just want to be able to use my God given agency. Shame on me if I don't want to help the poor on my own. But shame on government for taking away my agency to choose.
I wish there were more moral people period.

Donna said...

You always write it so well, Sue. I mostly agree with what you say, and as well today really agree with Robert. All day long today in surgery (yes, while we were working) we discussed politics and Obamacare. That is just an area that will greatly affect us all and is in sad shape. There are many more and it's hard to have our hands tied behind our backs while we silently watch what we are about to hand to our children for a country. Yes, I agree with you about helping our neighbor, but so much has been done to all of us that hopefully some damage control will happen in some way. Thoughtful post!!

Grandma Honey said...

This is the best explanation I have ever read for being a Republican. You give excellent understanding. (I mean you make it easy to understand.)

CB said...

I totally agree. I do not think the government should be giving handouts but everyone could use a course in helping those less fortunate - including myself. We have become a very me, me, me society and we always think we do not have enough but there are SO many less fortunate.
This is a great post Sue and very timely.

Stef said...

All of this rings so true. We don't need bigger government. We need more charity and less selfishness. THat is something the government, no matter how big, cannot provide. Loved this post!

The Valsy said...

Surely it was a surprise this morning to be reading your blog and find my name in there! Thank you for the compliment. Just trying to do my part. :) I was just getting ready to write a blog about this very thing...great minds think alike, eh? :)

VK said...

Love the way you put this all so succinctly. I am aware that being generous is the answer and believe most people are inherently generous, if they just look and see where needs are needed. I also think, however, that we don't look or see as often as we should, and that some aspects of our society make us not want to stop and help when we do see a need.
Quite a conundrum, don't you think?

Jess said...

I couldn't agree more, Sue. This country was founded upon those exact principles, and I think we need to return to them. I was recently reading in the BOM- the part in 3 Nephi after Christ comes and they have 300+ years of peace, and there are no poor among them- that's my kind of 'socialism'

alpinekleins said...

One can never have toooo many reminders to be grateful and to share. I know I need them both from time to time.


Caroline said...

Sue, I agree with you here. Teach a a person to fish rather than giving them fish and they have fish for life.
I do believe we need some social programs (especially for the sick, elderly and disabled) but a society that depends upon the Federal Government to fix the economy is in trouble.
I am an unaffiliated voter (technically on my registration card, that's what I am) because I have views that fall in line with many different parties.
One interesting person to watch right now is Kathleen Parker (of the new Parker Spitzer show on CNN at 8 or 8:30pm) she is a Conservative (Conservative centrist--to be exact) columnist and from my hometown of Camden, SC where for many years she has been a faculty member of The Buckley School of Public Speaking. She's very "googleable" and her views really make sense. I love her column.
Anyway, you might like her column too!

Have a great weekend! :)


I was looking for your G post on Alphabet Thursday (a little late in the week) and I came across this very well written piece. I have not heard it put any better! Great post! was the ghouls and ghosts for the letter G..ha.

Brenners said...

Hearty Amen.