Posts Tagged ‘entitlement’

“I didn’t join the Army to pick weeds out of rock beds.”The words were spoken over a decade ago.  In fact, it has been almost 15 years since I heard them.  I remember the conversation well.  I was in jump school at Fort Benning, GA and there was a break in the training.  The Army doesn’t like to pay its soldiers to sit around and do nothing (especially in a training environment), so when there is a lull in legitimate work, special provisions are made.  Cleanliness is a virtue in the military, and someone has to make everything neat and tidy.  The task at hand was a simple one, and not nearly as degrading as spending an entire Saturday cleaning bathrooms.  Our task at the time was picking weeds out of a gravel bed.Sometimes we have to do things that sound stupid, or seem like a waste of time.  There are always tasks that we have to do that we just don’t want to do.  We are, inherently, selfish beings who have been told to look after number one.  We are groomed to put ourselves, our needs, our desires, above all others.  We are also told that we should bail out of any situation that does not bring us joy and pleasure.

Nobody joins the Army to pick weeds out of rock beds.  But sometimes picking weeds out of rock beds just so happens to be the assignment for the day.

This is how the Army determines success

I love to complain about things.  I’m not bragging about it, but I generally need to vent about whatever is frustrating me.  At times I can take things a little far, but I know that if I don’t say something about it, I just sit and fume about whatever the problem is.  I know I complained about picking the weeds, but there is a big difference between complaining and feeling superior to the non-enjoyable parts of work.  I did not join the army to do menial tasks in the hot, July sun but that was what I was told to do.  I was not too good for that job.

I just got back from standing behind a concession stand at an Ohio State University football game this afternoon (I like to wait a few days before I edit and post my articles for those of you wondering why you aren’t reading this on a Saturday evening or a Sunday morning) and honestly, I did not want to go and help out.  I was not being paid for it, and this was supposed to be my first Saturday to relax at home with my wife in far too many weeks.  I was asked by a very close friend of mine who needed a couple of people to fill up gaps in the team.  I reluctantly accepted and woke up way earlier than I wanted to this morning to get up to the stadium by 9am.

Once I got over myself; my lack of sleep, my lack of quality time with my wife… I was able to enjoy myself.  I may not have enjoyed running around and fetching hot dogs, waters, popcorn, pretzels and all sorts of other stuff.  I may not have liked getting up early on a Saturday.  I may not have wanted to spend eight hours away from my wife.  But you know what?  I love helping people.  That’s why I’m in ministry.  That’s why I work for a school district instead of a corporation.  That’s also why I showed up this morning.  Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do, because it helps others.  Someone has to serve food to hungry football fans.  Someone has to clean the bathrooms, and yes, someone even has to pick weeds out of rock beds.

Follow the Leader???

Posted: August 8, 2010 in General Life
Tags: , ,

As I was pulling into the Rally’s drive-thru today I noticed a line of cars about six deep wrapping around the building.  Now, this is fairly normal for a fast food joint, but this is Rally’s.  For the uninformed, Rally’s has two drive-thru lines, allowing for cars to go on both sides of the building for yummy burgers.  Six cars in the first line, none in the second.  Is there a problem with the second line?  Is the speaker or microphone broken?  Is there nobody inside manning the second line?  Or, is there another issue here?

I chose the path less travelled.  It did make all the difference.

I ordered, paid and got my burgers much quicker than I would have if I stayed with the other cars.

This got me thinking.  I thought about how many times people refuse to risk anything for any purpose.  We pile up behind an open register at the store when there’s another open lane 20 feet away.  We push and shove our way through an open door when we could easily open the other one and double the allowable traffic.

This line looks legit, I think I'll stand here with everyone else

These are simple examples, where the risk is only mild embarrassment.  If you try to go to the other check out lane and find out someone left it on by mistake, or attempt to open the other door to find it locked, your only issue would be a few giggles from those without the stones to try.  What’s the harm?  Why do we lemmingly follow the herd?  Why do we allow the possibility of slight embarrassment to keep us from striving for something better?

I think the principle applies to more than just fast food and groceries.  I think there is more at stake here.  We used to be a country that applauded success, expected effort and assumed risk.  We used to keep trying, keep pushing, keep moving.  We used to set goals and work at them.  We used to help others around us in their efforts.  What happened?  When did we start to hold each other back?  When did we decide that comfort was greater than achievement?  When did we stop trying?

More importantly, how do we get back to where we were?  In this era of gimme gimme, our only expectation is that others will provide.  Someone else will pay for my house, my food, my healthcare, my retirement.  I can always follow someone else’s lead.  I don’t have to try anymore.

Where am I guaranteed free healthcare?  Free housing?  Free college education?  I was raised to believe that it was up to me to work for a living.  If I wanted to go to college, I had to pay for it.  If I wanted insurance, I had to pay for it, or get a job that paid for it.  If I want a place to live, you guessed it.  I had to pay for it.  I am not entitled to a house, to education, to healthcare or free food.  If I have not made provisions for my necessities, it’s not up to the government to provide them for me.  If I want more, I need to work harder.  I don’t believe that the government shouldn’t help people, but is there a line that needs to be drawn between help and entitlement?  If so, where is that line?