Thursday, February 2, 2012
Teach a Man to Fish…
The lessons of the Bible can be so simple yet so profound. When we give people things we only temporarily suspend the circumstances of that individual. When we teach people how to take care of themselves we open up boundless opportunities for success.
Today we have millions of poor Americans living in deplorable conditions within most of our major cities. These Americans have been given fish now for generations. Each generation has come to expect their fish to be handed to them. Getting fish has become their life. One of the most glaring examples of the results of giving fish instead of teaching to fish was the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Hordes of people wondered aimlessly waiting for someone to “give them a fish”. The simple activity of getting to safety was too overwhelming for people that had been lulled into dependency by government programs. Even the survival instinct was stolen from these people. Very sad.
The most compassionate thing we can do for our fellow Americans is to teach then to fish. Allowing people to learn the consequences of their actions is a lesson that quickly becomes a motivating factor in their lives. When you drop out of school and have no education, you will not be hired. The result should be the realization that you must go back to school. Temporary help with a commitment from the individual to pay it back when complete is teaching people to fish. Putting time limits on help for people that can provide for themselves is an impetus to learn how to fish.
Generations of Americans have been convinced that giving people fish is compassion and teaching people to fish is mean spirited. The opposite is true. We have been trying the fish giving approach and all you have to do is drive through any inner city to see the results. The results are a failure. It is time to teach people to fish and wean them off the dependency of government programs. These programs are destroying the potential of millions of Americans. Especially poor Americans.
The two approaches will be on display in the November election. America elected the first Black president and you would think he would be the candidate that would understand the power of teaching people to fish. Black Americans in too many numbers have been duped for generations to accept promises by politicians to be provided with more fish from a heartless government bureaucrat. Instead of taking a teach someone to fish approach, this president is doubling down on the dependency strategy. The candidates that are trying to replace this president want to teach poor Americans to fish by reducing the dependency the poor have on government. That is not mean spirited, it is true compassion.
Teaching people to fish is the much harder path to follow. Not because it is complicated but because it is easily demonized as being heartless toward people. The funny thing is we teach our kids the same lessons. If the lessons of self-reliance are right for our kids, how come it is not right for poor family’s kids?
Giving fish is easy and makes some feel good but feeling good is not the result we are looking for. We are looking for the result of ending poverty and introducing a world of opportunity to people that have no hope. That is something we could all feel good about. If that is the result we want then we need to fire this President in November.