Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Character and Adversity

During the great depression of the 1930's, the crime rate was relatively low despite 30% unemployment and widespread poverty. The reason for the low crime rate was that people, for the most part, believed in a power greater than themselves and practiced spiritual principles. I have heard many stories from the great depression era where a child would steal food, and bring it home to share with his hungry family. In most cases, the child was admonished by his parents and instructed to return the food to it's rightful owner and admit to, and apologize for his shameful thievery, while his family went hungry that night. The child was punished so that he might learn the lesson that "one's character" is his most valuable asset in the eyes of God and his fellow human beings. This generation of Americans grew up to be called "the greatest generation" and went on to make sacrifices on the battlefield and back home, during the second world war. Their sacrifice led to peace and prosperity for the next generation, the "baby-boomers".

On the other hand, today's generation, for the most part, does not know the meaning of true sacrifice, self-discipline, restraint, patience, "God" and "reward in heaven". Their whole life has been spent during a period of peace and prosperity. Even today's so-called poor, have all of life's necessities and many luxuries, provided for them. We live in a time material prosperity combined with spiritual bankruptcy.

Should our economy slip into a depression on the scale of the great depression of the thirties, I predict that widespread looting, lawlessness and anarchy will result from a generation that was never taught that are things more important than beauty, intellect, physical talent, popularity, personal success, happiness and self-esteem. We will be selfishly fighting over food, fuel and the scraps of a once great society.

How will you react if a deep depression strikes our country? True character always comes to light during times of adversity. I hope that Americans will rise to the occasion, if adversity strikes. However, without enduring spiritual principles to guide us, we will likely turn into collection of angry mobs who are just out for ourselves, our kin and our kind, during a lasting period of hardship where food is scarce.

However, adversity might be the thing that is needed to temper our collective souls and bring us back to the principles that made our nation and our people great during past periods of nation-wide hardship.

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