Friday, January 2, 2009

Thou shalt not steal cont.

Many modern day leaders, particularly those in powerful government positions starting this new year, have written a new definition for stealing. They have reformed the commandment. It is now, "Thou shalt not steal, unless you or someone else is presented with difficult situations". It was tactfully done. They started with laws that required everyone to give a little out of their earnings to welfare programs that help the less fortunate. Most agree to this form of stealing. If everyone is donating, it's not really stealing, right? But that's not the current law anymore. The laws have evolved. Everyone does not donate. Only a few do. Only those who make more than a specified amount must donate. So "We the People" created laws, forcing not everyone, but just some, to give away their earned money to people who did not work for it. Stealing has been legalized. It's done in the name of sympathy, of course. No one enjoys watching others suffer. We all in some form or another have suffered hardship. We feel for those who suffer more. We want to help. After all, if we don't some people could starve. Others could suffer. A few may even die. So stealing is ok. It's ok as long as it reduces suffering. That's the idea being pushed anyway, and it's what today's children believe. During my discussion of A Single Shard with my fifth graders I presented them with a hypothetical dilemma. I said they had a loved one who was starving. When I asked if in that case they'd steal food, they all replied that they would. They all agreed there are conditions that make it ok.
I have to say I think Crane-man from A Single Shard would disagree with this new definition. "Stealing and begging, Crane-man often said, made a man no better than a dog". He would say we are teaching our children to live no better than dogs. We are teaching them that when the going gets tough, don't work harder, take from others. And if others wont give it to you, we'll make them. Who are those who have worked and earned enough for their food? They are the successful. Who are the ones we take from? Again, the successful. So we are teaching our children when life gets really hard, don't work to be successful, but rather take from the successful. We'll help you do it. Such a process does not build characters like those I read about in Linda Park's book. I like to think America was built on the shoulders of those who fought hardship. When their lives got difficult, they worked harder. They found ways to solve their problems. Sometimes they failed. But when the failed, they tried again. I'm sure they asked others for help. They didn't beg or demand it though. When requests for help were turned down, they kept working. They learned from their failures. They accomplished the impossible, and they became great. They taught their children to be great. Thanks to our revolutionary, sympathetic laws we are only coasting on that greatness, and through these new policies are teaching our children when they reach truly difficult challenges to stop working. They should stop working, bow their heads in defeat, hold out their empty hands, and expect them to be filled. Rather than work for dignity, sometimes, when life gets really hard, it's ok to stop being human. It's ok to be a dog.
I am fighting this new definition. My children will follow the original commandment. They will look at stealing as more shameful than digging through dirt and trash for their food. Instead of holding empty hands out to others and demanding help they will reach for the stars, and someday, I know they will grasp them.


  1. hello you didnt even tell me you were starting a blog. ours is

  2. way cute blog, so glad you started one. i also have to say ditto to the thou shalt not steal!!!

  3. This is so articulately put. Well done!
    "I learned in schools, that spreading the wealth is good for everyone."
    "Well, I learned from real life that it's not. In fact, there's a word for that, it's called, THEFT!"

    I haven't seen this movie, but I did like the opening of the trailer.