As are many Americans, I have been following, and thinking about this proposed stimulus package that recently came out of Congress, and how it might effect us now, and in the future.
In life, there tends to be a few different approaches to parenting: if a child misbehaves, some parents will discipline their children, or use a practice often referred to as tough love. Tough love, whether it is applied to a child, a friend, or anyone we love, generally does not feel good. Often, we can feel guilty for being so tough on the ones that we love; however, the purpose of tough love tends to be used to help the ones that we love to see things in a different light, that they are not seeing otherwise. As a parent, tough love is often to teach our children to be self-reliant, and to not be overly dependent on others for their needs.
There is often another approach used by parents, and that is to try to pacify their children by giving them what they want at any given time; often this is in the form of a toy, or candy, such as a lollipop. While this may feel good to a child, and temporarily solves the problem for the parent, the long term effect is that the child will often grow up with a sense of entitlement, or as we often refer to as being spoiled; not understanding the need to work hard, and earn what they want in life. While some parents may see tough love as a harsh approach, more often then not, I would believe , as the child grows older, and wiser, they will later be thankful to their parent for being tough, and teaching them to be self-sufficient.
It seems to me that the children who were given one too many lollipops, often grow up expecting another lollipop, regardless of their behavior. You might even expect them to have more trouble becoming independent from their parents, as opposed to the children who were taught that bad behavior is not rewarded, and that lollipop needs to be earned; whether it is by doing chores, or bringing home good grades from school.
So, how does this all come together?
Well, for a moment, let’s think of government as parents:
If a government teaches people to be responsible, and more self-reliant – gives incentives, and rewards those who are willing to work hard, try their best, and help advance the country, you would think, in that model, all of society would benefit. Now, think of a government that teaches that it is OK to perpetually fail, misbehave, and do nothing to advance society, however, they are still going to give you that lollipop. In this scenario, would we all grow up to be responsible, hard working citizens – or would we grow up to be spoiled, even co-dependent on government?
As tempting as it may be, and as much as you may want it, it is often better, in the long run, to turn that lollipop down.