Saturday, January 24, 2009

Equal portions....


One of the happenings in our family that gives me cause to pause and wonder about the rules we create for society is how often the children cry foul when it comes to food distribution.

We have a 17 year-old male in our family, followed by five females aged 15, 9, 8, and 7 yr old twins. Then a 6 yr old boy and 5 year old girl. It is not possible to determine how much each of these children eat based on their gender or ages. It is not even possible to determine based on their likes and dislikes. Yet, Regardless of whatever factors might come into play, the younger children insist that they all be given equal portions of everything served or it's not "fair".

There is, however, one factor that matters, and that is whether or not I am the one serving the food. This is intriguing to me...

If I am doling the portions out it better all be the same portions, and they all develop an eagle eye for fairness. If I place the food on the table and they choose what the portions are there is little thought given to who gets what - unless there is obvious greed over particularly scrumptious fare. Through instruction they have learned to wait for a third helping if someone else has only had one. I have noted it's never a problem for someone else to have more for those who are already satisfied.

So it seems with the Government, that when we are all working hard to earn our living, there might be covetousness over the neighbor's belongings, but we don't generally cry foul. Those are different. Only when we adopt a welfare mentality - that there is a limited amount and they have what they do because someone gave them an upper hand somehow, or gave them more - only when we have the expectation that someone else is in control of the coffers do we begin to develop the eagle eye for fairness.

This is the danger of losing the entrepreneurial Spirit and trading it in for the welfare mentality: when we do not earn what we have we are never satisfied with what we have, because the issue is not what we have but whether or not we are treated fairly. Only when we realize we are able to choose do we become satisfied with what we have, which frees our neighbors to have more, or less if they choose...

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