I originally posted this in August, 2007.
I mowed my lawn today. I don’t normally do that particular chore. Either my son or my husband does. But as I was enjoying my iced beverage from the shade of my porch, I began to contemplate the length of the grass, the busy schedules of my husband and son, and the prospects of the lawn being cut in the near future. What the heck. I could use some exercise. I decided to be particularly hard on myself and pull out the old, rotary, manual mower. No motor!
And exercise I did. I didn’t get far into my endeavor when sweat began dripping from my brow. OK, it was dripping from lots of places. About that time a truck and trailer pulled up across the street. Four men of Hispanic decent jumped out, mowed, edged, swept, and left while I made a couple of more passes with my pitiful little mower.
That set me to thinking. It certainly would be easier to just walk across the street and get those guys to do this. After all, “immigrants do the jobs Americans don’t want to do!”
Now wait just a cotton-picking minute. What is that all about? The jobs we don’t want to do? That sounds like something my kids yell at me, “But Mom! I don’t want to!” What do I tell them? “Too bad, it needs to be done, and it’s your job to do it.”
Just because we don’t want to mow our own lawns, wash our own dishes, raise our own children, fill in the blank, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be doing it anyway. It needs to be done, and it’s our job to do it.
Back in my day, sonny, we mowed our own lawns, we did our own housework, and mothers cared for their own children. When the children were old enough, they did chores and mowed the lawn. The really industrious ones mowed the neighbor’s yards, made a few bucks, and learned to respect the dollar in their hand. They learned a little about business, scheduling, and priorities. And they learned about being responsible.
We have gone soft. I’m as guilty as anyone. Not to toot my own horn (toot, toot), but I am a really good cook. I can bake, fry, sauté, roast, or otherwise cook anything I set my mind to. My cabinets and fridge are full of endless mealtime possibilities. How many times have I opted to just “pick something up” because it was easier. I’m sure I have compromised my health and that of my children more times than I care to admit. When did it become OK to always do things the easy way?
It is said ‘that which does no kill you will make you stronger’. As I finished up the last of my sizable yard with my manual mower, I wasn’t sure which way it was going to go. After a few minutes back in the shade of my porch with another iced beverage, I felt good. A little shaky but good. Maybe even a little stronger. How much stronger would we all be, our kids be, our country be, if we would just do what needs to be done?
I’m not against getting some help when you need it. I’m not against immigration. Our country was built by people who came to this country from another because they wanted to be Americans. I am against breaking the law. I’m against telling people it is OK to break the law. And I am against coming to America if you don’t want to be an American. But mostly, I’m against turning over our responsibilities, and our country, to others simply because it’s easy and cheap to do so.