Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's All Bread and Circuses

...the people now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.

- Juvenal, circa 100 AD

Sighhhh. I worry about my children. I worry about my children’s future children, to the point of even encouraging my teenage daughter to never have children. At this point in my life I am fine with never having grandchildren. For starters, at 41 I am still way too young to be called "granny", even though the grey creeping forth from my scalp may say otherwise. Mostly, though, I just worry about what their lives will be like in another twenty years plus.

My worry comes, not so much from a lack of confidence in how they will manage on their own as adults, but rather from what I see as a breakdown in a large segment of society around them, and as someone who works in the public sector I have had a front row seat to this breakdown for the past 18 years. It’s not pretty, and it’s getting uglier with each passing year.

Simply stated, too many today care only for, and expect, every entitlement available, yet feel responsible for absolutely nothing! When people willingly put themselves in a position of being supported by others, caring only about immediate gratification and no longer value the virtue of hard work or civic duty, they do a disservice to everyone around them – themselves, their neighbors, and their children.

Unfortunately, today’s society is breeding a new generation of those who want, but will not do. No country, at least not one in which I would want my children or grandchildren to live, can survive this way for long. Don’t believe me? Just go back about 1,900 years ago and ask the Roman Juvenal. He could tell you a thing or two about bread and circuses.

A few post-notes...

1. Entitlement comes in many forms.

2. Growing up, if I ever got in trouble at school, I was in trouble at home.

3. Education was stressed. Neither my father nor my mother graduated high school, yet they knew the value of a high school diploma and college degree and pushed it, knowing that it would make my life easier than theirs had been. Only once did my mother ever call the school to voice her disagreement with a teacher.

4. My father worked in construction. Some years were lean, painfully so for my parents, but never noticed by me due to the way my parents handled the situation.


Farmchick said...

I have some of these same worries. It is hard to imagine, sometimes, that my kids will be adults with children. I worry about them making decisions, etc... Parenthood is hard.

Heather said...

Tyla, I agree. It's really difficult out there, and it doesn't seem to be getting any better.