3/26/2013

I'm standing on my soap box. Again.

>> The other day we went to the store to do some grocery shopping. As we were walking through the parking lot, the hubs noticed someone pull into a handicap stall, a large blue handicap permit hanging from their rearview mirror. This person then stepped out of the vehicle, young and healthy, with no limp or wheelchair or any sign of any disability whatsoever, and quickly walked into the store from their conveniently close parking stall.

>> When we first moved into our new home, we had one month of paying two mortgages before our renter moved in (we own two homes) and we were quite tight on funds. Mister J was just 4 months old at the time, and was bottle fed formula which we were paying over $100 a month for. Because of our lack of funds at that time and our priority in paying for the babe's formula and diapers first and foremost, our kitchen was bare of food for Dan and I. We took the small amount of money we had left to last us until payday and headed to the grocery store. There we were, waiting at the checkout line with our sad little cart that was filled only with two loaves of bread, two gallons of milk, a block of cheese and a few packs of ramen noodles. This was what we could afford to live off of for the next two to four weeks.

It just so happened that on this day at the grocery store, we ended up in line behind a woman who had an overflowing cart. As she put her items on the moving belt next to us, I noticed cans of Jones soda, steaks, pork chops, juice boxes, chicken, chips and salsa, popcorn, and many other food items that left me thinking about my emtpy pantry. As she prepared to pay, I also noticed that she used food stamps. Every last item of delicious, expensive food, the kind that would fill a pantry nicely, were paid for with these food stamps. All the while, she was on the phone talking with someone about getting her rent paid. Through the assistance progam that was paying her rent for her.

>> When we were pregnant with mister J, on top of our monthly premiums, we had a $2,400 deductible to meet before insurance would help cover anything. So every doctors visit, ultrasound, blood draw, etc, came out of our pockets. I remember hearing of the self pay prices for such things, and upon learning that they were cheaper than what we were paying, I asked if we could be charged self pay prices. I was informed that, in fact, if you have insurance you can not pay the self pay price. So I am punished for having health insurance? In January, two months before mister J was born, we finally met our deductible....just as it rolled over and started a new $2,400 for us to meet again. After all was said and done, with pregnancy and labor and delivery, we ended up paying $6,000 out of our pockets to have our sweet little boy.

Just this year our health insurance premium went up, so we are now paying over $50 MORE every month to have our health insurance plan. Our deductible also went up, so we are now paying $250 more out of our pockets every year before the insurance will help cover costs. Our monthly premium AND our yearly deductibles both went up. Huh, how about that.

>> My friend is a manager at a local credit union. Recently a member of theirs was talking to a teller. This teller is a single mother who works full time. The member proceded to ask her, "You have to make more than $(said amount of money here) per month, right?" The teller told her yes. She continued, "Well then you need to get on WIC!" When the teller told her that she didn't need WIC, that they were fine, the member just could not understand. "But you qualify! It doesn't matter if you need it. You qualify! That's free food!"

>> We know a family who has four kids, the mom being a stay at home mother, while the father owns his own business. Owning his own business causes fluctuation in their income. They have always been amazing budgeters. Although the cost is outrageous when buying your own, they pay for health insurance. They don't ask for anything from anyone. They live within their means. They are outstanding examples. We also have some good friends who, when tight on funds, decided mom needed to work. They couldn't afford daycare, however, so she got a full time graveyard shift job. She worked all night, got home in time to send the oldest off to school, spent the day with the youngest, and got a few hours of sleep when dad got home from work just to do it all over again. Amazing examples of working hard instead of taking the easy way out.

INTEGRITY: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

SELF ENTITLEMENT: (has been defined as) the acceptance that things should come to us, or something is owed to us for no obvious or apparent reason at all.

I have spent a good deal of my years fuming and complaining about how messed up the goverment system is, how dishonest people are, how unfair it all turns out to be. I have lost friends and relationships with people I love because of it. And what good comes of this, stewing and angering over these things? No good, that's what. I have told myself a number of times, get over it. You are honest and you are able to live with yourself, that's all that matters. But I inevitably end up in a situation where the dishonesty of it all is rubbed in my face, over and over and over again.

Because people feel entitled. They feel it is owed to them.

Listen, I work in healthcare. I have friends and family and many people I know, let alone all the people who walk through the doors of our office, that I deal with on a daily basis regarding these situations. I know that welfare is NEEDED for some people, I do! I've seen it! It's a great temporary assistance for people who need to get back on their feet. But I daresay 99% of the people I meet and deal with are people taking full advantage of what they feel is owed to them. So my attitude is just so. And yours would be too, if you saw what I saw.

This morning as I dropped mister J off at preschool, I was overwhelmed with a thought. The kind of thought that hits you so hard it almost takes your breath away.

It happened as I watched my sweet little boy running into the preschool room full of toys. "Hi 'shell! Hi 'atalie!" He greeted them with a smile. "Bu-bye mama! I luh-you!" He waved at me and went on to play with the kids as I walked out the door.

If you know our story, you know what a huge improvement this is. For months mister J would cry and scream every single time I left him. And I'll be darned if it doesn't go against every motherly instinct in my body to walk away from my sweet boy while he's crying for me. I had many a days of crying as I drove to work, a job that I love and enjoy, but found myself wishing I would never have to leave him.

But today, the thought that struck me, that filled me with hope and contentment. The thought that, we are raising this boy right. We are raising him to know about hard work and diligence, about integrity and honesty. He will always have our examples to live through, examples of parents that worked hard so he could live a good life. After months of crying for me, he learned all on his own that it would be okay. That he could spend a few days of each week at preschool surrounded by people who cared for him, and that I would always be there to pick him up right at five o'clock. The strength we both gained from this experience has changed us both for the better.

Of all the complaining I do, all the frustrating moments I endure in dealing with this sensitive topic, I have to tell you...I am genuinely happy to be an honest, successful, middle class citizen of this country. We pay our taxes, and although I find myself frustrated at who they are "helping" sometimes, I still find myself content that I can say we pay them. We pay for our health insurance, and make sure the doctors and nurses and staff are getting paid for what they do for me and my family when we need it. I'm grateful I can say that we pay for these things. We pay for our food. We pay for our clothes. We pay for our vacations. And all with hard earned money, the kind that doesn't come easy or simple, but that kind that is deserved.

We maintain our integrity and we will always have that to teach our children, in the hopes that they will grow up working hard and being honest as well. In the hopes that when they see the dishonesty filling the world around them, they won't jump on that bandwagon. And in the hopes that they won't let it get them down, leading to angerness, bitterness or resentment, but that they will feel happiness with their own honesty and hard work.

And these are the things I want to remember, as I am surrounded by more and more people who feel entitled to everything that should be given to them, because they can. Because it's there. Because everyone else does it. I want to remember that I am content in my life. I want to remember that letting it engulf me in bitterness will never make me the better person. I want to remember that there is still good, hardworking, honest people in the world. I want to remember that in knowing this, and in living this, we are raising our children right.

{stepping off of my soapbox now}

2 comments:

  1. I just wanted to tell you I LOVED this post. I'm grateful there are programs to help people who need help. I really am. But I'm also one who gets frustrated with people who won't do their part. I just had to fire someone because he would regularly not show up, or come in extremely late. I felt awful, knowing he had a wife and other responsibilities, but he refused to pull his own weight, and even admitted to it. That was two days ago. Today, he emailed me a bunch of paperwork to fill out so he can get unemployment, and medicaid, etc. He won't get either because it was a student job and he won't qualify for it anyway, but FOR REAL??? I just stared at the email, floored. You can't manage to show up for work, so I fire you, but then you think you're going to be able to get money for free...basically because you suck? Woah. There's my soapbox for the day. Ahem. But mostly, what I meant to say, is I'm proud of you for working hard, and that little boy of yours is incredibly lucky to have you for a mom. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Our country is getting more and more entitled. As the percent of citizens who does not pay federal taxes gets closer to 50%, they will be voting on government entitlement programs that the taxpayers pay for. Something is wrong when the ones who influence who our leaders are, are just takers.

    My father was fiscally conservative for years but now that he's retired and on Medicare and social security he has flipped to vote for fiscal liberals and who he votes in has raised my family's tax payments. He laughs about it and says he knows he flipped now that he's a taker and no longer a contributor.

    SIGH

    ReplyDelete