Regaining our Strength of Character, Self-Reliance and Determination

Regaining our Strength of Character, Self-Reliance and Determination

IMG_6364By Larry Oscar

As things finally begin to heat up, and after a long cold winter caused by global warming, I’m sure all the nut cases will be out in full force. Especially because this is an election year.

Some politicians are already promising government handouts for votes paid for by your tax dollars. I’m sure it will only get worse when the politicians start honking like a flock of geese. This nation is a far cry from when our forefathers founded it.

Our government is one big bloated expensive mess and the self-reliant people that founded this country have been replaced by people found in safe rooms of emotional quality at Berkeley. I was going through some old family documents a few weeks ago when I found my grandfather’s deed to the farm he bought in 1916. The farm was just west of Cushing, Oklahoma. He was born in 1891 and married Mary Permilla Powell.

My grandfather, Earnest Alvin Hetherington, was a father of eight children. He lived during WW1 and WW2, and fed his family throughout the Great Depression and Oklahoma Dust Bowl. Grandpa was just about as self reliant as they come. I never remember him complaining about anything. Not even the weather. He faced life as it was dealt to him and he expected his children and everybody else to do the same. There was no crying at the farm.

Earnest was a tough minded individual. He had a high bar for good behavior and  would not tolerate whiners. The family farm house was heated with wood and light was provided by a kerosene lantern or candle. The water was drawn from a spring and with that large of a family they  had a two hole outhouse of course. One day grandpa was cutting  firewood with a buzz saw and the wood slipped. He lost his thumb, but he just wrapped up his hand and finished the job.

When you stop  and think about how life was 100 years ago you can understand just how far our strength of character has fallen. You had  to be self-reliant to survive back then. Today our nation’s people need to have everything done for them. We have become a nation of  mooching emotional wimps. More and more of our children are  growing up depending on government or special interest groups  for everything in their lives. They don’t think for themselves.

This just may be the major factor in our nation’s deterioration of character. Instead they let the group think for them. This is very dangerous for our nation. From this type of thought you will hear the cry, “We are all in this together and I need to be in charge.”  This is how all the brutal dictators throughout history have come to power. Today over half of this nation goes into emotional meltdown over a simple election loss. Some of our states have gone so far off the rails that they will probably never get back on track. Their state government will have to be bulldozed over like an old rotting abandoned house and a new one built.

Our ancestors of just 100 years ago were self thinkers and self doers. My grandpa was a carpenter, farmer, plumber, lumberjack, and tradesman of every kind. He tilled soil with a horse drawn plow, grew crops, raised chickens and pigs, and even assisted in childbirth. In the late 1940’s he bought a brand spanking new Ford tractor under protest. He was overruled by his children as he now was getting too old to plow fields with a horse.

It wasn’t until the late 1950’s that my mother and her siblings convinced him to switch from firewood to propane heating. When my grandpa was in his early 80s he could not take care of the farm anymore and had to move to town. He protested again, but his family insisted. I’m not sure if he would have been better off if he had just stayed on the farm. He passed away a few years after moving to Cushing. Losing his self-reliance was like losing part of his soul.

I have never forgot his strength of character and the tough determination he faced his life’s challenges with. He was an inspiration. Will the youth of today regain the ability to think and do for themselves, or will they continue to descend into reliance on the collective?  That question has yet to be answered, but reading the tea leaves of today don’t bode well for our future.

(Larry Oscar is a graduate from the University of Tulsa and holds a degree in electrical engineering. He is retired and lives with his wife on a lake in Oklahoma where he brews his own beer, sails, and is a member of numerous clubs and organizations.)