My twelve-year old son receives a weekly allowance when he has performed his duties and household chores in such a way that is pleasing to his parents. No whining and a job well done are expected in order to receive this compensation. Don’t worry, we aren’t violating any child labor laws. These are typical household chores that we expect done even for free but we know our job as parents is to prepare our son to be a man and part of that is teaching him how to take the payment from a job done well and turn it into a budget.
This last week he stunned both his father and I by going above and beyond his normal duties and showing an act of maturity that was well beyond his years- not only was his room spotless, his laundry folded and put away but he also picked up areas outside of his normal realm of work. This mother’s heart nearly burst with pride! His dad and I conferenced quickly and decided to put a “little extra something in his envelope” this week as a reward. His excitement at this unexpected incentive made us all smile.
I let him enjoy and celebrate this extra increase in payment for a little bit as he was debating whether he could finally afford that XBOX game he’s been wanting or if he should save it for a rainy day. After letting him celebrate for a few minutes, I reached back and snatched the envelope out of his hand and took half of it out and handed it to his little sister.
You see, she is only seven years old and while I know she is fully capable of simple chores and compensation for them I also know that she has other things she is busy with during that time, like playing with her Barbies, catching up on the latest Dora the Explorer episodes and eating her way through mountains of goldfish. However, it just didn’t settle right with me that her older brother received something so grand and she was going to have to do without. He was so disappointed and his spirit and initiative was crushed but I just had to shrug and tell him sometimes life wasn’t fair.
Of course, none of this is true. Not in this capitalistic household! But it’s something that happens everyday to the “have’s” and the “have-nots” in this country-turned-welfare-nation. Our government has forgotten that while their responsibility is to protect equal RIGHTS it doesn’t mean that Americans are to have equal THINGS.
Our Founders encouraged the first Americans to work as hard as they could, prosper for their families and while they knew that most would rise to the Middle Class there would be others who would grow wealthy. Our government stood proud and encouraged Americans to pour their efforts into hard work, to take the initiative and climb the financial ladder as high as they could and reap the rewards and benefits from that sweat without any penalty for success.
Early Americans knew that despite financial status and class, their property rights were secure and nobody in the government would be reaching into their pockets with one hand and passing it off to those less fortunate with their other hand.
This thought was carried on through the years and was reiterated by Abraham Lincoln when he said, “Property is the fruit of labor…That some should be rich shows that others may become rich and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently to build one for himself…”
Despite these securities that have allowed Americans to work and reap reward we have always been and continue to be the most generous people on the face of this earth. In a world where we are often reviled for who we are and what we stand for, ironically we are always the first people to the rescue, both physically and financially, by personally opening our wallets, whether it be for other countries in a time of distress or emergency, but also for our own countrymen. When Americans see a genuine need, we rush to fill it and give of ourselves in a way that is unique among the nations.
By the way, I don’t have to take from my son and give to his sister because I know that the next time the ice cream truck pulls around the corner that same generosity and his own tender heart wouldn’t allow for his sister to do without her favorite treat.
*You can follow Brittany Pounders on Twitter @LibertyBritt.