Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Rest of the Story - Being Strong

Life has once again gotten away with me. The Farmer was back in the ER about a week ago, or was it two? Anyway, they thought he might have a blood clot and his doctor sent him right over to have it checked out. Luckily, it was not the case but certainly something that had to be ruled out, especially having just been bedridden in the hospital.

It seems that I've left you all hanging, waiting for the rest of the story as to what my co-worker meant when she said Americans are strong. First of all, as Americans I think we need to cut ourselves some slack and not buy in to the negative press that floats around. I'm more apt to believe a real life person looking from the outside (another culture) in.

When I quizzed my co-worker she was very excited to share her ideas. Actually, blog reader and commenter Harriet came the closest with her appraisal:

"A very thought provoking question. I think it's a combination of attributes. The willingness to give a hand, tackle what needs to be done and get it done, go down for the count, get up, dust off your hands and keep on keeping on."

That is alot of what my co-worker expressed but the number one thing was self-reliance. She is amazed that Americans know how to do alot. According to her we are the epitome of multi-tasking and like Harriet mentioned we are willing and able to tackle just about anything.

This young woman was raised in a culture that employs lots and lots and LOTS of domestic help. Her family was upper middle class but she explained that middle, upper-middle and upper classes all have housekeepers, cooks, gardeners and other help. This is common in many parts of the world especially areas with large populations as everyone needs to job. As a child and a teenager she never had to do any chores but the downsize was that she never learned to do anything for herself. Learning to do these tasks for herself (after moving to the U.S.) gave her confidence and a sense of personal accomplishment.

She also cited something that Americans don't generally acknowledge - we are a nation of volunteers! A good portion of what needs to be done in this country is accomplished by those who ask for nothing, who roll up their shirtsleeves and get it done for the love of helping others.

The pioneer spirit lives on in those who are willing to take chances, get thrown down, pick themselves up and move on. The Farmer and I have been in dire situations several times in our lives. At one point we were both unemployed with no clue where our next mortgage payment was coming from. We were raised in blue collar households where the message was, "There is help. It's at the end of your arm."

The Farmer, with three college degrees, found a job delivering newspapers in the middle of the night. Was it beneath him? Heck no!! He did this while he conducted a job search.

We are also products of our parents. My father served in World War II and just as he and my mother were saving some money for their first house, he was called in to serve in Korea. I never, ever heard him complain that their lives and plans were interrupted. It was his duty, its was the law and he served. When he was discharged they got on with their lives.

The story of Flight 93 on September 11 points out the take-charge attitude that my co-worker notices. Knowing the grim facts of their situation thanks to the honesty of their loved ones, these people made the decision to DO SOMETHING, to not be a party to the terrorists plans. Staying in their seats would basically have made them accomplices and these everyday Americans would have none of that, even if it meant their lives.

And there you have it - self-reliance, take-charge, tackle the project, work hard, volunteering.... strength, American-style, according to someone looking in.


19 comments:

Vee said...

Have been wondering about you and hoping that everyone's health was okay. How's the farmer feeling these days? More himself and stronger, I hope. And you? How are you?

I admire the grit of so many people and wish that I had more of it. And Flight 93? They knock my socks off because sometimes life requires everything.

Connie (aka LOU) said...

Suzanne - Loved your story, and SO true. I was so inspired when I read Todd Beamer's wife's book Let's Roll and had an even greater appreciation for Flight 93. Keep a watchful eye on the Farmer.

Millicent said...

Glad to see your post. I hadn't thought about all the chores I required of my kids making them self reliant. Maybe I did better than I thought. Nice to get the perspective of someone who is not native to our country. Hope the farmer continues to improve.

Kare said...

Still the greatest country in the world!

Mary Rex said...

Another really good story Suzanne. I am always inspired by your posts.
I hope the Farmer is on the road to a full recovery, and that you are getting some rest and relaxation.

Leslie T. said...

There's so much truth to this. Figuring out how to solve a problem, deal with a situation, get through tough times, we can do it. And most of us have done it over and over. We need to give ourselves credit and keep moving forward, knowing that we have what it takes. This is still a great country, full of good people, and we can be proud.
Now if we could all just wear tutu's and funny hats to work every day, just think of what fun it would be. Oh wait, I forgot, I'm supposed to be masquerading as a grown-up. :-)

Lisa D. said...

I am not an American, but as a Canadian, I was raised in much the same way. This also reminded me of my best friend. She spent part of her childhood in another country where her parents were missionaries. Her mother and the maid had several disagreements over my friend's bedroom. Her mother insisted it was her daughter's job to make her own bed, and clean up her own room and the maid just couldn't understand. Now my friend is glad her mom taught her this responsibility, but at the time I think she hoped the maid would win the argument!
Hope your visits to the hospital are done now, for awhile!

Anonymous said...

Bravo!!! You summarized in a few paragraphs what those of us raised in the Midwest realize instinctively because that is the way we were trained as young children. I have lived in other parts of the country where people rely on welfare. Those people have no ambition other than to receive the monthly government payment. So, I guess what I am saying is that not all people in our country share your intestinal strength and values.

It is too bad that you live in a state that has a city like Chicago that has politicians who destroy the positive image the rest of us have of Illinois. They seem to love making your citizens dependent on their largesse. (By the way I love visiting Chicago and think it is a wonderful place except for the corruption running rampant with most of its politicians.)

Thirkellgirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thirkellgirl said...

I really needed to hear this today. I'm a bit discouraged, and trying to talk myself out of it, because I know we're better off than 99% of people in the world, even though dear husband lost his job in July and the only imminent possibilities mean paycuts of $35,000 a year. I just don't know how it's going to work. But I don't need to. But I want to. But we can definitely do something. Anyhow, thanks. Missed you.

Thirkellgirl said...

I deleted my post because it posted twice! Ack!

Anonymous said...

This describes my upbringing, I just never have seen it spelled out like this..thanks. Midwest people are tough and resourceful. My husband and I worked together and have had a good life.

janine said...

Hey, I've not stopped by for some time, I hope all is well with you and the Farmer.

Janine aka J9

Amish Stories said...

Thought id say hello while passing your blog by, and i hope you folks have a very nice weekend. We are maybe a little past fall peek colors for taking pictures of our tree's here in central Pennsylvania, but ill try anyway to go out one last time to snap some images. Richard from the Amish community of Lebanon Pennsylvania.

Paula Jo @ Home and Garden Decor said...

A very nice story, and makes a person stop and think. I hope the farmer is feeling better, and I know that since you are working now, you have alot more to do. It was nice hearing from you again.

Cindy La Ferle said...

I've been thinking about you this fall. Not able to read blogs as often as I would like to; I have missed yours. I hope your husband is feeling better, recovering well.

I agree with all you said about Americans. I've been through some extremely challenging situations this year, and I remember how hard my grandparents worked when they came to Detroit from Scotland ... and how that American work ethic is what keeps us going here.

Dorothy said...

11/9: I do sohope everything is ok with you. It has been a long time since we have heard from you.
Be safe and healthy.
Dorothy

Lily said...

Best wishes for the health of the farmer!

bv said...

ok...i check in and no farmers wife?! am missing and wondering about you...hope all is well and you are just out making millions at the job.....thinking of and wish the best for the whole family!
bv
xo