I’ve learned that a piece of my personal freedom and self-respect is removed the moment I adopt any degree of mental entitlement. It weakens my resolve and my independence. Further, it renders me as incapable and robs the noble breath of life that gives me the energy to utter “I can.” I don’t like the resulting feeling from giving up myself, betraying myself, or worse, to utter the foulest word ever thought of or spoken: “I can’t.” I know reality and the ideal differ. But, maybe others are like me, during hardship, are enticed to participate in the delectable scraps of the ‘virtuous’ public treasury. I’ve decided, if possible, that it’s not worth the loss of self-worth, self-respect, independence, and the loss of ingenuity and resourcefulness that is borne during hardship.   

The following story told several years ago scarred me I think. “At our seaside village seagulls are starving amidst plenty. The shrimping fleet “shrimped” the waters by our village for many years. The seagulls ate the easy shrimp and fish caught in the net. Now, the shrimping fleet has moved to other waters, and the native seagulls can’t fend for themselves. They are dying because they lost the skill to work. Even their fledglings are dying because their parents never taught them how to work for fish.” I wonder if this affects people too who continuously dine on the delectable scraps on the fishing nets of the public treasury or others? Are they teaching their children the same? If so, what will they do when the public treasury dries up, or friends or family move?

Scott Perrin

Cottonwood

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