For this dad, the #OWS (Occupy Wall Street) protests are a lot of hooey with no message, no cohesiveness and a lot of mess and disorderly conduct. For this man, it’s a bunch of lazy, spoiled kids looking for an excuse to party. For this radio host, it’s another excuse for MSM (Main Stream Media) to provide yet another skewed view of the news. It is also yet another demonstration of the diminution of the value of hard work and money.
While I don’t intend to dwell on the idiocy of the “Occupy” movement, or dwell on the irony of these pampered kids texting on the smartphones their parents got them, or the organizational skills they’ve demonstrated via their bathroom habits, I can’t help but enjoy the irony of their freedom to “Occupy” on their parent’s dime! Yes, that was the longest sentence I’ve ever written, but my passions are clearly ignited by the nonsense going on in downtowns across the country and those spreading across the world.
It’s the value of money that has given these “protesters” the freedom to organize, keep current at college via their smartphones, laptops and other mobile devices and the hard work of others who got them this freedom. Their ability to organize a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is due to the visions of such pioneers as the late Steve Jobs, who created the devices that the OWS gang is using to spread their incoherent message.
Who made the money to get them to New York and pay their tuition at NYU and Columbia? Who pays their cellphone bills and provides the clothes on their backs? Who will pay their college loans for those who didn’t get a free ride from their parents? You know the answer. It will be those of us who still put in 40- to 60-hour work weeks, who understand how to balance a checkbook and who actually pay taxes.
Those taxes protect their freedom to protest and their First Amendment rights to spew their nonsense. Those taxes provide the uniformed men and women who protect them from the local store owners whose livelihood is thoroughly threatened by their presence, their vandalism and the stench that keeps regular customers holed up in their New York co-ops for fear of these mobs of hooligans.
But, no, I won’t dwell on these lazy bums. I will try to stay on topic and talk a bit more about the value of money. I worry that my own boys will fully understand the value of money when they leave home. As much as I try to teach them how to save, how to work hard and how to budget, I don’t know how much has sunk in. It’s a different world that they live in, and the jobs I was so easily able to secure when I was their age are either no longer available or are done by adults, such as the now-antiquated, almost Norman Rockwell-esque, image of the paper boy.
The contemporary high school homework load and required extra-curricular activities that any younger boy or girl must do to have the right requirements to fill up a college application are so much more intense and time-consuming than what I had to do. Let’s not even discuss the reality that everything I needed to do in high school was available at high school and didn’t require my parents to pay for, drive me to and otherwise figure out. I was able to do it all myself.
What a novel idea: a teenager taking care of his or her own business! That is how I learned the value of money, starting with that long-gone paper route that I had. I even had to collect the newspaper subscription fees each month, tally them up and turn them in. In cash! Can you imagine what that felt like: a 13-year-old carrying all that cash around? Having to protect it, count it and literally feel the value of money?
Now, the OWS crowd just uses their debit cards to get food, their smartphones to stay in touch with their co-idiots, and their computers to do their PR dirty work. Forget that Dad and Mom are paying all the bills.
Why are we surprised? What lessons have my generation of parents taught this generation of “revolutionaries”? What lessons have the baby boomers, who now run our universities, really learned from the debacle of the '60s? Let’s face it, and I hate to say this, but the only good thing that came out of the '60s generation is a few good songs.
Values were lost. The value of money was undermined. Institutions that stood the test of time and respect were trashed. Many of my generation would look at a soldier, a policeman, fireman, or the ilk, and just see baby killers and uniforms rather than the courageous men and women who wore them.
The value of money is really about all our values. The value of you as a parent is the values you teach your children. Pay attention to what is going on or you will be getting calls from the smartphone you pay for, at the college whose tuition is 20 times what it was 20 years ago, or from your son or daughter asking for more allowance.