You Owe Me, Maybe?

There’s an old anecdote told about a man who was leaving his house one morning for work.  Before getting in to his car, he stopped by his neighbor’s house who he had heard was going through some difficult financial times.  Responding to the knock on his door, the unsuspecting neighbor was overwhelmed when the man handed him a hundred dollar bill.  The  generous gesture was so unexpected, that the recipient was moved to tears of gratitude.  He waved in appreciation as his kind neighbor drove off to work.  As the story goes, the same act was repeated a week later and met with the same response. This reoccurring event went on week, after week, after week.

Then, one morning, the gentleman who had been dispersing the cash gift on a regular basis didn’t make what had become a customary ritual.  The neighbor who had been on the receiving end of this kind act was already at the door waiting for his weekly hand out and was shocked…actually coming out to the porch to see if his neighbor had forgotten him.  His shock quickly turned to rage when his ‘friend’ told him he didn’t have it to give anymore and began to yell obscenities as he drove off to work.

Admittedly, I find myself asking: At what point did the attitude of the needy neighbor transition from genuine gratefulness to inherit expectation?

The same question could be asked regarding a similar mindset of our current culture in America today.  At what point in history did we come to expect our government to take care of us every time life threw a curve ball our way and rocked our world?  Whether we are talking about welfare, healthcare, education, emergency assistance, disaster relief, etc (you get the idea) there is a growing segment in our population whose voices grow louder and louder because they are not being taken care of by the ‘powers that be’.

So how is it that we have come to expect so many benefits that our blessed nation has to offer, as ‘rights’?

While I have no desire to go back and live in the early years of this country’s establishment, I read in awe of the early colonist and settlers who put everything on the line to make a go at a better life in this country.  History teaches us that life did not always go well for them.  Crops failed, disease and illness took a toll, adverse weather wrought destruction and lives often unraveled.  Yet somehow, civilization pressed forward.  Back then, there was no government to make their lives better.  When things fell apart, they relied upon themselves, their faith, and their limited communities. But I read nowhere that those earlier generations of pioneers felt that anyone ‘owed’ them anything.  My, how times have changed.

You can’t help but think that it’s only a matter of time now, before our government is no longer able to take care of so many people who seemingly are unable to take care of themselves.  And I can only imagine what the reaction will be when that day of reckoning arrives.