I have been reluctant to commentate on all the "occupy" movements going on across America. I have done this for two reasons. The first is that I don't know the folks out in the streets protesting and its hard to get a handle on what it their collective protest is about. But the main reason I haven't commentated on it is, I just don't have time....because I have work to do. I am blessed with a great job and have had steady employment for the last 25 years of my life. But even if I didn't have a job there would still be work to do.
There is always work to do. My dad and grandfather were big believers in work. I rarely got to sleep in as a young fellow. There was always something to do, mowing a yard, splitting or cutting wood, cleaning up a job site, work on our farm and this time of year the onslaught of the maples, red and white oaks and the poplars....leaves, millions and millions of leaves. And as a kid I grew to hate the thought of hours of raking, blowing and burning leaves. My brother and I got a great life lesson though from dad and granddaddy, get out of bed and get to work! I still feel guilty if I sleep past 7:30 on a weekend!
Every Thanksgiving it was a tradition in our family to spend that holiday giving thanks by raking and burning leaves. I still am trying to figure out that one. Granddaddy loved to burn things. We are all in agreement that he secretly was a pyromaniac. He burnt fires in his fireplace every day if the temperature got below 60. He especially loved to burn leaves, not matter how windy or dry, the leaves must be burned. Many times the Cool Springs volunteer fire department had to be called to extinguish one of his blazes that took off either up a 200 year old oak tree or in my Aunt Becky's yard.
All in all those days were long and tiring, but I have great memories. Now, I am getting the privilege of passing on the thankfulness of leaves to my son. Today he is experiencing hours of raking, mowing, blowing and pushing leaves. We don't get to burn them any more because we live in the confines of the city limits of Statesville. But if I could, I would light them all on fire as sort of a burnt offering in memory and honor of my Grandaddy who taught me so much.
So as I think about the occupy movement and all the energy those folks are putting into being angry and hollering about who knows what, I'd really like to see them go find some work to do. If they took all that energy they have in fussing and griping, they could clean up those parks they occupy. They could help some elderly folks who need assistance around their homes. They could do all kinds of meaningful work that contributes to the betterment of the lives of those around them.
But I suspect no one ever taught them about splitting wood, or raking leaves or made them get up early to cultivate the garden. Maybe that kind of thing never got passed on to them. Maybe all they got was directionless modeling and for that I am sad for them.
So, to do my part for the next generation, I will not go out and protest with signs and chants. Nope, I'll work at my job, around my house, my family's homes, around my town and my church. I'll take my son and daughter along with me and teach them that there is plenty of work to do and that work is a privilege!
For that I am thankful on Thanksgiving.
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