Where did it go?

Where are all the people who, when they want something, go out and do everything they can in order to achieve it?

Of all the people I’ve met in my life, I’ve only met a few who have really impressed me with their work ethic. That wouldn’t seem so bad if I were a hermit, but I get out quite a bit. I’ve made lots of friends, and I really care about them, but I have to admit that most of them would probably just shrug and walk away if I were ever in a bind and needed their help. Why? Because doing anything to benefit themselves or other people is work… and work has a bad reputation.

How does one tell if someone is lacking in the work ethic department? My number one way of telling is simple: how much does the person do for themselves? I’ll admit, I fall short in a few categories – auto repair comes to mind. But everything that means a lot to me I have worked to become good at. Cooking? I taught myself, and I take pride in it. I’m still learning, and I’m driven to learn more than just scratching the surface. I want to make bread, so I grind my own grain. Someday soon I hope to grow and thresh my own grain, too. It looked hard, but I felt it was important. Instead of whining that it looked hard and revering anyone who could make bread… I did it.

The next way I tell is by the way they parent. I have kids. I know how hard it is to be criticized for having poorly behaved kids – it hurts. Too bad. I’ve already lost friends because they ask me for advice and I gave it. I don’t sugar coat. If you need to grow a pair and start telling your kid no, I’ll be straight with you. If your child is a little monster and you ask me for an honest opinion, I won’t sweeten it up with false compliments like you want to hear and are used to hearing from everyone else. I get compliments from complete strangers (mostly elderly) on how well behaved my children are. A lot. I don’t fish for them. Ever. I’m proud of how well-mannered my boys are, and I’m not afraid to tell people I have trained them to be the way they are. It wasn’t luck. It was consistency and tears and yelling and time outs and following through and planting myself right by their sides until I was sure that they would make responsible, caring young men. How do I tell a bad work ethic? Simple. A parent who is too absorbed in keeping their child happy instead of raising them right. A parent who doesn’t want to hurt their child’s feelings more than they want to give their child a better future. A parent who acts like, pouts, throws tantrums, and otherwise engages like their child. A parent who looks at me when I describe all the hard work I’ve put into raising two little gentlemen and says, “That’s too hard.”

Seriously. I get it a lot. Too hard. Like it’s a math problem that can be set aside instead of the life of a child who will someday grow into adulthood and reflect every good and bad thing you ever taught it. And these people go on having more kids, as if it doesn’t matter that they can’t even raise one right.

How do I tell a poor work ethic? When someone tells me they really want to learn something, like canning, and after multiple offers on my side I see nothing. If you want to learn so badly, why would you give it up so quickly? I didn’t have anyone to teach me a lot of the skills I now possess, nor the ones that I’m still learning. I wish I did. I’m going all on what I read or hear. It’s difficult, and it takes longer, but I’m still doing it. I get comments on our pantry, on how well stocked we seem. I offer to share my experience so others can do the same. It’s not that hard, really. But after a few vague questions, it’s all forgotten.

I just don’t understand. Where did DRIVE go? Where did ASPIRATION go? What ever happened to doing a thing well if you’re going to do it at all?

I think that’s why I get so many compliments from the elderly. I’m betting they’re just as frustrated with the younger generations of hand-me-everything-on-a-silver-platter idiots as I am. It’s refreshing to see parents putting their children in a time out right in the middle of the damned store. It’s refreshing to see small children saying please and thank you when the teenagers next to them can’t even make proper eye contact. It’s refreshing to see a mother pick up her screaming child in a restaurant and whisk it out to the parking lot for a swat or words or whatever method of lesson the child needs. It’s refreshing to see someone engaged and asking for TRUE advice, not the meaningless drivel we’ve all been coached to offer because it’s more PC. It’s refreshing to hear of people who put some effort into making their lives and those around them happier by using a bit of grey matter and elbow grease.

I’ve been raised to look at someone I admire and learn something from them. I don’t admire slackwits who feign interest and waste everyone’s time. I don’t admire parents of horrible, sassy children who disrespect everyone they look at. I don’t admire anyone who says one thing, then does the complete opposite because it’s easier. In debt and struggling? Do something about it! Kids watch too much tv? Get rid of it! Unhappy in your relationship? Move on!

Yes, this is kind of a rant. It was brought on because I belong to a forum of supposedly like-minded people who have similar goals. I love going there sometimes because a few of the people are so helpful and chock full of answers. But I absolutely hate going there at other times because the majority of people on there are a total waste of time. It’s so easy to do quick searches and find answers to specific questions. If the answer is nowhere to be found, then a quick post will certainly net you some high quality responses.

It’s too easy.

The silver-platter idiots come to places like this in droves. They mindlessly wander about, seeming genuinely interested and full of vague questions until all of the smart folks with (drum roll please) good work ethic have completely spent themselves answering every possible interpretation of the roundabout inquiries. When these simpletons are called out on their inability to think for themselves or do a little research on their own, drama ensues. It’s just like my real life. Like the rest of the things I’m getting fed up with, being all nicey nice and PC is drawing to a close. You either want something or you don’t. If you don’t, don’t waste my time and that of others.

If you do… find your work ethic. It’s probably hiding in there somewhere, buried under your delicate feelings and sense of hopelessness.