I saw a bumper sticker tonight that read: "Contrary to what you may believe, no one owes you anything". I liked it a lot. It gave me comfort and pulled me out of some self pity that I have to admit has been plaguing me for a little while now. I sat there re-reading it and letting it sink in and felt it resonate with a part of me that knows that feeling pride in my work is one thing I can always rely upon. I got my first job when I was in sixth grade, it was a pizzeria and I was a busgirl. I remember getting my first paycheck and how much fun it was to work with my best friend, cute boys and get free pizza. I don't recall not having a job since that day--often more than one at a time. I love earning a living and I like the satisfaction of a hard day's work.
My son has his first job, and I am so proud of him---I pick him up and he smells like a burrito, which reminds me of working in restaurants for so many years. He works at a great place with really good people and has the opportunity to have lots of valuable life experiences. I hope that he is learning what it means to work hard and earn a paycheck. As a parent I know that is one of the most important things I can help him to learn and incorporate into his life--- a sense of pride in his work and a sense of responsibility for himself. We took his paycheck to the bank when I picked him up from work on Friday and he proudly deposited it into his savings account. He makes minimum wage and is now learning to equate the number of hours he has to work in order to purchase the things he wants. It's interesting to watch his eyes get big as we talk about how much money (and hours of work) is required to buy a car and pay for all of the other things that go with that responsibility, like insurance, oil changes, etc. I feel like I am succeeding at parenting for a fleeting moment when we have those kinds of talks.
I know that it was just a bumper sticker, but sometimes such simple statements can encompass a philosophy and a way of looking at life---that one sure did for me!