The Importance of Work – June 06, 2015

There is a quiet dignity in meaningful work with a paycheck that allows one to provide a quality life for him or herself and any family they may have.

People need to have a sense of purpose and belief that they can take care of their daily needs beyond mere survival. Sitting around waiting for some government entity or someone else to take of an able-bodied person is not only demeaning for that person but a drain on society on several levels.

We once had a strong manufacturing base in America that allowed those with just a high school diploma access to a decidedly middle-class life. They were able to marry, raise a family in a home they bought in a nice neighborhood, have a car or two, take a family vacation and trips, and even more importantly, send their children to college so that they would have better opportunities in their lives. We will never fully rebuild our economy until we once again make what we buy here at home.

Sadly, for a growing segment of America, particularly among young African-American men, that dream/idea is quickly dying out. Education changes lives – I’m a living testament/witness to that stark fact – in a positive manner. But, it all starts at home and unless you grow up seeing your parents getting up each and every day and going to work, it’s often difficult to understand the concept of getting and keeping a job.

W.O.R.K. isn’t just a four-letter word – it’s life fulfilling, life sustaining and a key factor in one’s self-esteem and ability to contribute to society.

I thank God for the example my father – a 23 year US Navy petty officer – and late mother – 18 years with the City of San Diego before her passing in 1982 – set for my siblings and I. Also, my grandparents, uncles and aunts, family friends and the adults in my neighborhood who did the same for their families which I also saw and admired.

To quote the late, great James Brown: I don’t want nobody to give me nothin’, just open the door and I’ll get it myself.

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