My father’s daughter…

stand·ard
/ˈstandərd/
Noun
A level of quality or attainment: “their restaurant offers a high standard of service”.
Adjective
Used or accepted as normal or average: “the standard rate of income tax”.
Synonyms
noun. norm – flag – banner – criterion
adjective. normal – regular

There is a standard of living which we are all exposed to from the start of life typically based on religion, culture, environment, race, gender, finances and not necessarily in this order but that standard is there.

In the community my father, an unsung hero, looked just like everyone else mowed his lawn, trimmed the hedges and planted his small vegetable garden; his front lawn sprinkled with flower beds and bird feeders hanging from tree limbs. On traditional holidays such as Independence day, Memorial day and Veteran’s day one would find my father at the grill flipping hamburgers, hot-dogs and a list of various other delectables. And in the kitchen lay in wait bowls of pasta salad, potato salad, cole slaw and a pot of baked beans in the oven.

He loved the idea of family gathering at Thanksgiving and Christmas, a time he never took for granted.
The sacrifice he made in serving America its freedom to celebrate these family holidays expressing gratitude for loved ones was a simple task for my dad because he understood the cost. As an American Veteran my father was followed each day with memories of fallen comrades in arms and gave a moment of silence for those broken families sitting around the dinner table with at least one empty dining chair.

My father set the example in as much as his love for our country, he celebrated the freedom afforded Americans like no ones business because again he understood the cost and took great pleasure in the sacrifice. There was nothing too small to take care of, his mentality was simple “if we take care of the small things” everything else will take care of itself.

But what happens when the standard slips, when people lose vision? What happens when the average persons heart has grown cold? What happens when even the pat on the back and the attaboy become a way of he past? I see a standard of living far below that of my father’s day and far below that which he reared me in.

A standard of immediate gratification has eased in on American communities, a mentality of having to have it now consumes in such a way that the average fast food restaurant serves up our orders in 10 minutes or less, pizza deliveries in under 30 minutes and oil changes in less than 15 minutes or free the next time. The level of working, waiting and appreciating what we have so diligently worked for is gone from us. Nearly everything available today is disposable and not necessarily recyclable. The more society moves forward the more it regresses.

In my experience I have not been fatally wounded by waiting, saving and storing up for my future. For me it is the wait which makes the reward far greater in the end. As a young girl I was given a guitar for Christmas and though I enjoyed the instrument I did not have an appreciation for it until it was gone from me, pawned by a spurned lover. I spent weeks tracking down my guitar and when I finally located it jumped through all sorts of hoops to have it returned to me. After months of hard work and negotiation my guitar arrived to my doorstep undamaged. Due to my effort the tone of my instrument was far sweeter the day it was returned to me than it was the day it was given to me. Hard work, dedication and consistency pays off!

My parents dedicated their lives to a higher standard, although we were impoverished our mentality was not. Work ethics were the rage when I was coming up as well as education. My mother an avid reader taught from her very example that knowledge is power. Together my parents example of hard work pays off was enough for me and for my siblings and our children the benefactors of such an old fashioned way reap the rewards as do their children. Friends start a new tradition in passing on a blessing and not a curse. Teach your child work ethics, saving toward a future goal and the appreciation of having saved for what they desire.

Through the years I have been exposed to military persons and I have seen the standard fall drastically. I met a young man who could not earn enough points on his GED (General Education Diploma) to be accepted into a branch of the United States military. This young man approached me stating, “My recruiter is adjusting my score so I can get into the military. I’m not sure what I should do. What if he gets me in and I fail my studies as an infantryman? I don’t want to be the reason one of my platoon members comes back in a body bag.” After much thought and consideration this young man refused the help of the recruiter and went on to earn his GED, attend a local community college and is now a responsible family man providing for his family.

People, if we continue to move forward in our lives accepting short cuts and acting on the need to gratify ourselves immediately then we lose the very reason we live. Life isn’t about skating by, taking the easy road and living on the bottom with the below average person. It is an opportunity to rise above the bottom feeders, to raise the bar on humanity and give in such a way that good things come of it.

It is past time we stop enabling our young ones to fail.
Why teach a child to walk if you intend to carry them all the days of their life?!

Think about it…

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