From its inception, our great nation was carved out by risk-takers, hard workers, and pioneers. People who gave everything, leaving behind comfort and security for the hope of a future they could build with their own two hands.
There was no help, no handout, only the dignity and pride that come with building a life, surviving and thriving, sweating and toiling.
Watch small children as they grow to get a taste of this hard-earned independence. Never has there been dignity so pure as the child, completing something without help triumphantly announcing, “I did it!”
Where is that glorious victory when Mom and Dad step in to help? Forget victory, it becomes a fight for independence between the tiny human force vying for the goal of unhelped completion and the force attempting to solve the problem by completing the task on their behalf.
And as we grow, we are faced with an abundance of choices and challenges. We can allow the state to solve our problems, to take care of us financially, to clothe us and provide for us food and shelter. Many choose that path.
But in doing so there is a trade-off. Being completely provided for robs us of our basic dignity, which is achieved very simply through hard work, through trying and failing, through applying our best efforts, regardless of the outcome.
Work breeds character – whether it be tenacity, fortitude, or tolerance – the opportunity to work has benefits that outreach a paycheck.
We look back with pride at the things for which we worked and worked hard. Our homes, our trophies and knick-knacks, our relationships – all products of hard work that rounds out our lives and provides fulfillment in a way nothing else can.
“Working is associated with a host of positive, non-economic outcomes. It brings lower incidences of crime and drug abuse, higher church attendance, greater social engagement and family formation, better overall health, and mental well-being. All of these effects are, of course, related, because in America the dignity of work facilitates community engagement and civic participation, a sense of independence and freedom, and the shared experiences that form many relationships,” writes Patrick Pizzella, former Secretary of Labor.
No one should be deprived of the dignity that comes from freedom – even when it’s work.