The Value of Your Story

There was a time when people had a story to tell. They told it with thankfulness for having gone through it. While going through their experience they thought it would never end, but many came up with inventive ways to make it through tough times. Many mothers have used the experience of going through hard times to teach their children thrift, to be thankful, to sacrifice, to be compassionate to others, and for many other life lessons. They tell stories of working two, sometimes three jobs, of standing out in the cold early in the morning time and returning late in the evening to prepare dinner for the family, then get ready to do it again the next day. Many of these people would tell you that their experience was rough, and that while going through it they longed for change, but they used their situation to motivate them to do better, to educate themselves, to bring out their entrepreneurial spirit and inventiveness, and claw themselves out of their difficult circumstances.

Dr. Benjamin Carson will tell you that his mother at one time could not read, but she knew that she wanted a better life for her children, so she paid attention to the habits of the successful people for whom she worked and tried to copy them. She did not blame her dire situation on others, instead she learned valuable lessons that she applied to her own life. She emphasized the benefits of education to her children. The sacrifices that she made and the lessons that she instilled in her sons paid off, and they grew up to be successful men, making a major difference in the world. Mr. Carson says that his mother never used her situation to go on an excursion to pity Ville, but instead she used it to drive her (all while raising her boys in the inner city). She accepted public assistance, but never used it as a means to stay where she was. It was not an automatic option, people usually resorted to it after all else had failed. As Dr. Carson states, there was a stigma attached to accepting government handouts in those days and his mother worked hard to get off public assistance.

How many times have we been intrigued by the stories of old timers as they told of their hardship? Many of them would recall their tales of privation with pride, mindful of how it helped to shape their character and prepared them to face life with the understanding that it is not a bed of roses, that sometimes it is unfair, and that at other times “life just happens”. For many of these people, a common thread that runs through their experience is a dogged determination to make it out of their circumstance. They do not blame others for their predicament. They have a tenacity that stares obstacles dead in the face with an optimism that they can overcome them all. This attitude is most demonstrable in the attitude of the pioneers from the early days of this country’s history. These people had none of the amenities that we have today, but through sheer determination, faith in God, belief in themselves and each other and the will to succeed, they helped to make this country into what it is today. We could learn from them!

It is amazing that today, with all of the creature comforts that we have; there is so much despair. Many think that the American dream is dead, still others believe that this country’s best years are behind. Sadly, the things that people once proudly recalled as part of their story, are now seen as evidence of a system that is against them. A large segment of the populace no longer views challenges in their lives with the same perspective most once did. This in large part is due to a prevalent political philosophy that continues to stir up dissatisfaction amongst the people. Grievance is the tactic of choice, and proponents use every crisis as an opportunity to gin up the people against each other. Advocates of this philosophy tell the poor that it is the rich who are responsible for their poverty, they tell women that men are against them, they tell black people and minorities that white people want to subjugate them. These people have no problems destroying the characters of decent people, calling them racist, misogynist, homophobes and doing whatever it takes to further their agenda. They are relentless and they are never satisfied. Each night that you turn on your television set, one of them is pontificating about how terrible the country is. They assure us that they have all of the solutions, that we just need to give them more power. They push the narrative that the only reason bad things happen to people is because others are working against them. They promise to fix all of the problems that ail us. With them in power they vow that no one will ever have to worry about anything because they will prevent bad stuff from happening. Everything will be free, there will be no more poverty, no homelessness, no racism, no sickness or injustice, and a law will be enacted to take care of every problem. Beware of them! With them in power, no one will ever again have a story to tell.

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