In the past few months we’ve been led to believe that the government is our only hope for the future. We have grown reliant on those stimulus checks. We justify them as being part of our tax dollars put to work for the betterment of the nation. When you’re retired and living entirely on Socal Security, a free check every few months is a true godsend. When you’re poor, the same is true. When you’ve become reliant on the government for welfare checks, medical care, etc. we tend to expect all those perks. I don’t imagine anyone returned their stimulus checks to the US Treasury department. We all like free stuff. We play the lottery in hopes of winning money that will secure our future. We gamble at the casino to accrue a few extra bucks. We enter the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstake with visionsn of winning and never having to work again.
The old proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” makes a lot more sense. When we become so reliant on some one or some thing to pay our way, or give us a free education, or provide for daycare, or protect our environment, or provide for abortion, or eliminate racism – sexual identity – we are becomng enslaved to the very source providing all of those goodies. We are beholding to them.
Here are few variants to that proverb:
- “Gve a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Give a man a poisoned fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
- “Don’t give him a fish and you feed yourself. He’s a grown man and should be able to figure it out for himself.”
- “Teach him to fish and he’ll need graphite fishing rods, tackle box, fishing line, expensive reels, lures, tackle box, silly hat and vest, minnows, fishing boat with motor, a trailer to carry the boat, lots of vacation time, beer and no wife.”
All kidding aside, are we really better off having our government involved in every area of our lives? Nothing comes without a price tag. We are each responsible for our own lives, but we’re also asked to care for our neighbors and rightly so. We don’t do that nearly enough. In fact most of us don’t even know our neiighbor’s name. Our isolation began a long tme before the pandemc, when people began expecting the government to do what we don’t want to do.
If we really care about the poor, or those being oppressed, or those without specific skills, we help them to learn how to make a living, provide jobs, financially help them, encourage them that they have a future, reinforce their value and love them. Don’t enslave them to powers that be. We can all be thankful for that possibility.