The Chinese have a very interesting proverb, that I have thought about repeatedly over the past few months, that states, "Wealth never lasts three generations."
As the saying goes, there is a shrewd "grandfather" who works extremely long hours and through his work ethic, determination and character reaches financial success; providing a comfortable life for his family, and more notably, his son, the "father".
The "father", who was raised in the comfort of luxuries, becomes accustomed to them and, more importantly, expects them as his absolute birthright. He does not appreciate the hard work nor the value of money it took to get to this lifestyle. He becomes a partying playboy, lazy and soft-willed, and abhors anything that takes any effort or is unpleasant/tedious to do. These tasks are not worth the premium he puts on his time or the status he puts on himself in society.
Because he did not attain anything he benefits from through his own coming of age in wisdom and establishing sound judgement and character, he then lacks these very tools that he needs to keep his lifestyle and fortune. Through recklessness, bad judgement and lack of character, the money runs out quicker than his lifespan. The "grandchild" starts back penniless at the stage where the grandfather started his voyage.
This is the best summary as to what has happened to America.
In the early nineteen hundreds, our "grandfathers" sweated and gave their complete efforts to build this county and provide good lives for their families. They were people of character, work ethic and Faith. They built tangible things from absolutely nothing and got their hands dirty asking for nothing more than what they legitimately earned. They risked everything, many times coming to a new county without a dime in their pocket coupled with a useless language on their tongue. Some gave the supreme sacrifice on a battlefield in a place they never heard of.
The second half of this century, our "fathers" discovered the good life through the hard work of their fathers. They hallucinated at Woodstock, raised Roe v. Wade as a inalienable freedom and did not have to concern themselves with responsibility (because their father’s fruits allowed them this very leisure). They belonged to the church of do what ever feels good where there were no pews and definitely no kneelers. They trumped everyone else’s right to freedom with their misconception that their own freedom and enjoyment was primary. There was no more important, nor Higher Authority, than themselves.
When comparing these different mentalities, we went from a country where young men lost their legs and lives storming the beaches at Normandy to liberate people they never met, to CEO’s destroying their subordinates’ lives by running companies into the ground while padding their own personal bank accounts as quickly as possible. By way of comparison to the Normandy reference, these subordinates were people whom they had personal relationships with as they looked into their eyes every morning wishing them a good morning; even knowing many of their families.
We went from a country that openly, boldly and publicly cited the Biblical verse, "We shall overcome," risking great bodily harm in the segregated South for core beliefs; leaving our country's fate in God’s hands to now a country that is afraid to wish each other a "Merry Christmas," denying our God completely in non-violent situations for fear of offending 10% of our population.
We went from a country that celebrated Veteran's Day with parades, and VE Day in churches - giving praise and thanks to the Almighty - to now celebrating a secular football game as a national holiday so we can shovel nachos down our throats.
We went from a mono-deistic society to a society that now considers man-made philosophies, like Scientology, a religion. We swapped a Creator for a celebrity lifestyle.
We went from a country that would tell our children the bedtime story of the grasshopper and the ants, to a country that needs immediate gratification, putting everything on credit cards, and expecting the government to take care of us in our old age.
Greed overtook thankfulness to God. Belonging to corporations usurped belonging to churches. Wall Street millions overtook Main Street caring. The search for pleasure eclipsed the recognition of responsibility.
We now look at ourselves starting over as the "grandchild", inheriting the fruits of our father’s selfish choices and a greatly diminished and struggling country. Our founding, bedrock principles that have served our country so well for two centuries are now only heard faintly in the distance.
We must go back to the blueprint provided to us by our "grandfathers" to build America once again into a great county. Rolling up our sleeves and working as if everything depended solely on us. Creating something from nothing. Supporting each other when we see hardships, strengthening our communities and churches and putting our individual concerns dead last. Putting our trust in the Almighty God and spending considerably more time on our knees.
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14