In my younger years, my grandmother would tell me how hard it was growing up during the Great Depression. I half-listened to her stories, mostly because I was in trouble when she was telling them. Like many boys, I could be lazy and my laziness really bothered my grandma. When she was young, she didn’t get the same luxuries afforded my generation. She would tell us stories of having little to eat and being very thankful for the few things they did have. She talked about knowing what it meant to work really hard without air conditioning. Wealth, in those days, meant having several pairs of socks and two dresses. No matter how hard she tried, it seemed nothing she said would help me understand how hard she had it. I took for granted the conveniences technology and modern medicine provide.
At the time I didn’t understand grandma’s obsession with hardship. I thought I had hardship too. Didn’t she know I spent 30 minutes getting a tan while mowing the lawn? Didn’t she know I had to clean my room? Doesn’t that compare to her stories of the toils of life on the farm?
Truly, I had everything, but I didn’t realize this until I was in college. I remember protesting after getting my bachelors degree, “They said I’d get a great paying job in no time, and they lied!” In my simplicity and pride I’d assumed employers would be knocking down my door, asking me to come and work for them. Why wouldn’t they? In fact, the world didn’t seem to care about me near as much as I cared about myself. This was a shocking realization. It shook a comfortable foundation I’d built my life on: if I simply “show up” something good will happen. I felt abandoned and misled, but the world didn’t seem to care about that either.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I had run into something I’d heard my grandma lecture me about: my absurd level of personal comfort. I really did have it good, and my current employment woes were teaching me this. I had mistakenly equated mowing the lawn once-a-week with living through the Great Depression. I thought mom refusing to buy me the latest $150 pair of soccer shoes was equal to grandma wondering where her next meal would come from. Was it equal?
No. It wasn’t equal. It wasn’t even close.
Not many American’s alive today know what it means to live through hardship. Baby boomers had it better than their parents and Gen X had it better still. How do millennials view hardship? Many millennials associate working full-time with hardship. (Not joking, they really do.) The technological advancements of the last 60 years have made our lives incredibly convenient. As if the staggering level of convenience we enjoy wasn’t enough, we’re arguably the richest people who’ve ever lived.
Interestingly, prosperity hasn’t helped our condition. Along with each increasing layer of prosperity our lack of adversity has continually produced a more comfortable and entitled individual. Bent towards selfish thinking and unrealistic ideals, these individuals lack the grit to retain jobs, maintain their homes, and keep their families together. If we’re going to keep the ship from sinking we’re going to have to step up and stem the tide of entitled behavior. Here are two simple but important factors that will get us moving in the right direction:
1. Stop Enabling
Here’s how it works: prosperity creates convenience. Convenience can create entitlement. Entitlement creates ungrateful people. Thankfully, research psychologists have identified entitlement as a serious problem and begun researching it. What that research has taught us is that moderate levels of adversity throughout childhood produce healthier young adults. In short, many positive character traits are born in the fires of pain, not happiness.
2. Get to Work
Work gives us a sense of purpose, but work may not give you a sense of meaning. If you can drive, get a job. Get off the couch. Wipe the Cheetos dust off your fingers and put down the controller. You’ll never accomplish anything unless you get moving.
Yes, you will most likely work a low paying job. Your boss will be a jerk. No, it will not be fulfilling. But here’s the catch: if you don’t know what a terrible job is at 18, you won’t be able to recognize a great job at 30. You’ve never slogged through weekend nights stocking shelves at Wal-Mart. You’ve never delivered food to a jerk that refused to give you a tip and talked down to you. You’ve never cleaned out 50 dog pens at a kennel in 110-degree heat. You don’t know hardship for the same reason I didn’t know hardship: I’d never really been through it.
And that’s what my grandma taught me. The problem isn’t adversity in your life, but the lack of it.
 Kochhar, R., (2015). How Americans Compare with the Global Middle Class. Pew Research Center.
 Benard, B. (1995). Fostering Resilience in Children. ERIC Publications. Washington DC.
 Thanks Grandma, love you.
Now – May 31, 2018
Porter Chiropractic & Acupuncture is offering a complimentary chiropractic exam and x-ray for $20.00, with all proceeds being donated to Peace Partnership. For more details, follow the link, see our events page, or call 816-524-5838. Thank you Porter Chiropractic!
Thank you to all who came by Jersey Mike’s Subs in Blue Springs to help support Peace Partnership throughout March and on the Day of Giving! Special thanks to Kevin Rohrbach and the Jersey Mike’s team for your hard work and generosity and the following Day of Giving partners for the giving of your time, resources, or by pre-ordering lunches:
- Abundant Life Counseling Center
- Baird Realty Group
- Downtown Rotary Club
- Flat Branch Home Loans
- High Touch Technologies
- Mike and Shannon Horsley
- Kansas City Mavericks
- Lee’s Summit Physicians Group
- Midwest Accident Reconstruction Services
- John Otradovec
- Paths for Elder Care
- Porter Chiropractic & Acupuncture
- Craig and Lorie Rookstool
- St. Luke’s Surgicenter
- Silgan Dispensing Systems
- Wise Wealth
- Zarda Bar-B-Q
- Jessica Ziegler
If you are interested in finding out how you can become a Peace Partner this year, don’t miss the chance to get involved. Please click on the link below to become a Partner. To host an event or take part in any of our upcoming activities, contact our Director of Development, Amy Henderson at 816-399-0530 or: firstname.lastname@example.org.