Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Value of Sweat Equity

When we talk about equity we're often referring to something we have an investment in; our home, our car, or our finances. Those are things. We also have sweat equity invested in other areas of our lives; our relationships, projects we're working on, or maybe programs we're involved in.

Here's an example. Youth today have plenty of ways to fill their time. Your kids could be part of a dance or cheer team, a school band, an athletic team, a boy or girl scout troop, or even a youth group at their church.

When I was young I never received anything I didn't work hard for. I earned a small allowance when I was younger, I took babysitting jobs, and I got my first real after school job when I was 15. I paid for my first car. I bought my own clothes in high school. I paid for myself to go to the movies. I invested sweat equity into everything I did. Guess what? It felt good to work for and earn what I had. It also made me more aware of how I spent my time and my money.

Many youth today (and sadly some adults too) seem to want everything handed to them. Of course, I'm not trying to lump everyone into one category; that wouldn't be fair. But many have an attitude that comes across as 'I deserve it. I want the best and I want it now.' There's a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from working for something and earning it.

I met a young girl at church last year who came in to help me with a project in order to earn 'volunteer' hours. I asked her if it was for school, perhaps the National Honor Society. She replied, 'No, it's for my dance troop. My teacher does a lot for us so we can go to competitions. She requires us to perform service hours in our community to give back.' How awesome it that? And what a great lesson to be taught. 

It bothers me when I see groups of people (youth or adults) asking for support so 'they' can do something, but then not being willing to give back to the same people who have so generously supported them. I suppose it would be a more perfect world if those people would offer to give back all on their own without having to be asked, or coaxed, or begged. It seems like they should be willing, appreciative and eager to give back, but so often that just isn't the case. It makes me wonder when everything changed and more importantly ... can we, as a society, change it back?

What do you think?

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