My grandfather was born at the beginning of the 20th century and lived almost 100 years. He tried to impart to me two lessons as a child. First: “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” Second: “I work on the barter system. You do something for me and I’ll do something for you.”
He had countless professions: sharecropper, logger, ship builder, restaurateur — the list goes on. My grandfather showed his love for his family by his actions, doing whatever was required to meet his wife and children’s needs. He was a very generous man.
My grandfather did not believe in earning a “living wage”; he believed in earning a wage to live.
He advocated working hard, often leaving before sunrise. However, I believe, he would say flipping a burger and bagging fries was not worth $15 an hour.
If his current job did not support his family, he moved, changed or worked a second one.
He did many things for himself instead of relying on someone else. He was satisfied with what he had and earned. The concept of entitlement would be as foreign to him as expecting someone else to pay him without first earning it with labor.
My grandfather never finished elementary school, but he had a wealth of wisdom to share. His lessons are fading from this society.
Could it be it’s not the American dream that is dying, but rather it is Americans’ willingness to do what it takes to reach that dream that is dead?