Monday, January 4, 2010

Why We Teach

Everyone has heard a story of about a doctor who became a doctor because their mother died of Cancer, or a social worker who went into that field because they didn't want others to experience the same hardships, or the man who became a warrior to try to protect peace.
Most of ones life is spent trying to solve problems with the hope of passing the answers to subsequent generations.
Why spend a lifetime acquiring solutions only to have this knowledge lost to subsequent generations?

But are some answers unteachable?
Are some answers to be learned through experience only?

As with my younger half-brothers, half of my childhood was spent under extremely undesirable circumstances.
But I always had an out - I could always call my paternal grandparents for a life of ease.
But this was not really an option.
"I" was an older brother - with all the responsibilities that go along with being such.
How could I enjoy my life when my own brothers were suffering?
I had to suffer to ease the load that my brothers would bear.
I had to be Prometheus.

Was this thinking taught or was it inherent?
Maybe it was birth order, maybe it was genetics, maybe it was religion - I have no idea.
But being the older brother shaped my thinking in how I should go about life.
It seems that my role in most situations is that of being the answer man.
The responsible one.
The one who should show/know no fear and be able to handle any situation.
But were these traits learned from my familial position?
Were my brothers predisposed to prison and crime by genetics (their father was an undereducated drug addict), or could they be taught how to overcome their situation?

My step-father was not my example.
Even though my father died when I was one - I knew that my genetics were sound.
I knew that this apple could fall far from the tree of my step-father's examples.
I knew that I was not him.
But did my brothers assume that they were him?
Did they learn crime - or were they born to it?

But another problem could be that I took too much of the heat.
Was my being Cinderella an excuse for my brothers not to adapt to their environment?
Was my help doing more harm than good?
Maybe they would have had to be more responsible if I hadn't been around.
Maybe they would have been better off if I would have gone my own way and left them to theirs.
Maybe my help robbed them of the foundation of character required to build upon success.
Maybe I was just prolonging their adolescences.
My brothers lived a life of comfort and ease.
My brothers had a life in a neighborhood better than most of the country.
My brothers had all the goods and resources that come with suburbia but neither did any good with them.

This is best seen in poor countries, towns, neighborhoods and people.
If poor countries keep getting aid - they will fail to develop any foundation or any incentive to be self sufficient.
If poor towns always receive aid - there is no incentive to do for themselves.
If poor people always get aid - they have no need of learning skills and keeping jobs.
If we keep doing for others what many could do for themselves - are we really doing any good at all?
If we keep giving the rewards of success to people who haven't succeeded - why should they even bother to do or be better?

This past Christmas I dropped by the homes of many people whom others would assume poor.
Many of these people had made the food circuit and collected food from the local churches.
Many families had so much food that it would spoil before they would have a chance to use it.
Many families just threw out the food from their Thanksgiving run and replaced it with the new food from their Christmas run.
Many families threw food out saying, "I don't eat that ish."
(If these beggars can be choosers - they really don't need this much help.)
I'm disgusted - these poor people are not really poor.

When I feel like it, I do a lot of remodels on homes.
Most of the people buy new flat screen televisions and offer their old 27' or 35' models to me.
(I have four 35' and seven 27' TVs in my storage unit.)
I tried to give a family a 35' three year old set to replace their older 19' set.
But this was not good enough for this family.
They questioned why I didn't give them a bigger LCD flat panel set.
Have some people become so accustomed to everything being given to them that they can pick and choose what to accept?

I've escaped poverty - three times.
The lessons I've learned can be learned by anyone.
Or am I just different?
Am I just blessed?
Or lucky?
Or is it fate?
But fate cannot be taught.
Luck cannot be taught.
Being blessed cannot be taught. (Although the actions, mentality and humility required to receive such blessings can.)
So we have faith that we can teach others what we have learned.
But this may be a case of something which cannot be taught - only learned.


FreeMan said...

How about I'm the last of my family and I have the same mentality as you.

I got a post coming up about this same topic. I think a human's natural state is at rest. Only a couple will go about building while the others have to be forced and yet some are lame. Some will respond to stimuli and others will not. I think if we understand that we will be alright. We only have so many years to shape people and if we don't get to them they will shape themselves and the best and least resistant way is to do absolutely nothing.

Now the disconnect is they don't relate work to reward. In fact the lower these cats go the more they think they should be rewarded. The audacity to throw out good food because its old is nuts. But if you understand the mentality you will understand why. We are applying the wrong stimuli and as a result we are baffled.

Reggie said...

I hear ya my brother. You're not different, you're just not trifling. I'm sure we all have family that is just like your brothers and you. Two or three are is a crackhead. It's like that, why I don't know. Some people seek to be viable members of society and others just don't give a shit.

I'm the baby of the bunch, there are three of us. My brother drives an 18 wheeler and my old sister is a systems administrator. I live in a suburb of Charleston; and while I wouldn't say that I live a life of comfort, I'm comfortable. I'm almost 45 and I've never been late for work, it's important to me. I want those that work under me to see me set the example. At the same time.....they'd better not be late or there will be consequences.

I've got a group of cousins that lives in a city up north. There were five of them originally. One was murdered on his way home from work, he wasn't overly successful but he wasn't a burden on society either. Another died due to a life spent in search of a high. The other three all work like there is no tomorrow. Their parents were hard working people.

We all seek to find our way in this thing called life. Some are righteous, some aren't. Some give a shit, some don't. Why......who knows?!?

I will say one thing for you brother, you write a helluva blog!!

brohammas said...

Humans of all status will take more free stuff than they need. When I worked corp sales everyone from hourly employees to executives would perk up when I came around because they all wanted free stuff. If I was giving out pens with our logo on it, everyone wanted a handful. Exec has a desk full of pens, why does he need twenty of mine?
I once had a crowd of 50 rednecks at a NASCAR race doing all sorts of stunts in hopes of getting one stinkin' free Sharpie.
maybe "hand outs" are the problem. Anyone sees a giving opportunity as a grab all you can. Maybe it would be better if a food center made the recipients help unload a truck before taking their own. Maybe soup kitchens should refuse the help of all the suburbanites in favor of those who want a meal needing to help serve each other.

Something for nothing will always get abused... no matter the class of the recipient.

uglyblackjohn said...

With a steady stream of easy outs, people rely on the belief that those outs will always be there.
Once those freebees are gone - most people feel as though they are being cheated.

Whatever happened to working for what one received?
I may not have bought everything I own - but I HAVE earned it.

doll said...

I would say that you chose to be prometheus because inherent in you were the necessary qualities. Another oldest son might not have had such strength and generosity and so have chosen the easy route or the route your half-brothers took.