Bumper sticker triggers concern


Yesterday, as I was driving to buy groceries and fill up the gas tank on my car, I couldn’t help but notice the bumper sticker on the pick-up truck ahead of me.
“Keep working: Millions on welfare are counting on you!” the message read.
As I sat at that stop light, the memory came back to me of one particular incident that fits right into this bumper sticker message.
Example. When my two children were babies, my husband and I made the decision that I would step down from my full-time job and be a full-time mom. Financially, things would be tight, but we knew we could do it.
While grocery shopping in a discount store, little Caroline spotted a doll baby and said, ” Mommy, could I please?” and I simply said no. She didn’t ask again.
We heard another little girl throwing a temper tantrum over the same doll, and we moved on. Wouldn’t you know it, we ended up in the check-out line right behind that mother and her little girl.
Sitting smugly in the cart was the little girl holding the doll baby. The mother paid for her groceries with food stamps. She then pulled cash out of a cigarette pack and paid for the doll.
The man who was with her grumbled about spending their cigarette money on a stupid doll.
I remember when my sister was in the hospital having her first baby. She and her husband were working hard to start out in farming, and their hospital bill would be marked “self pay,” taking them months and months to pay off.
After the baby was born, my sister was moved to a semiprivate room with an unmarried woman her age whom she knew from school.
My sister made a comment voicing concern over the hospital bill. The other young mother said, “No worry for me. Welfare paid it the last time, so I figure they will this time, too.”
What’s wrong? What is wrong with this picture?
And why does it go on and on and on?
My niece told me when her baby son grew out of his first car seat, she and her husband had saved money out of each paycheck to be able to afford the next-sized safety seat. She was stunned to hear another young mom tell her she didn’t have to buy any of her car seats.
Since this other mom wasn’t married and wasn’t working, she qualified for all sorts of assistance, including free safety car seats.
“I’d be stupid not to take it,” she said.
As a society, I have to wonder if we aren’t robbing some of the drive to survive and the tenacity to excel away from generations of individuals by making such assistance so readily available.
It’s there, so why not get in line and take what is free?
Necessary. There are certainly thousands upon thousands of cases in which the system is completely necessary, and I am certainly not condemning anyone for doing what needs to be done to feed their children. The assistance available was meant to help those in a transitional need, and it is vital.
It is worrisome, though, when it becomes a generational trend.
Ann Landers once said, “In the final analysis, it is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.”


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.