Twin Sons

Even when two kids are twins, it seems like they are as different as they are alike.  Take my twins, Sam and Ben.

When they turned 16, Sam wanted to get a job.  Ben wanted to spend all of his spare time hanging out at his friend’s house (who had at least one of every electronic device sold) playing video games.  It was fine with me that they did whatever they wanted in their spare time, as long as they kept their grades up.  Their “job” was high school, and everything else came second.

Sam went out and got a job.  Somehow, he figured out on his own how to budget and to save.  So by his senior year, he had a car—that he purchased with his own money—and planned to take a trip to Europe the summer after graduation.

That’s when the problem came.  Ben didn’t have a car, didn’t have money in the bank, and didn’t have too much to show for his year and a half of gaming.  He wanted a car and he wanted it now.  He also wanted to go to Europe after graduation.  After all, his brother was going.  He asked me for the money for a car and a trip.

For all of my children, I put the food on the table, made sure that a roof was over their heads, and made sure that they didn’t have to go to the Salvation Army for clothes.  They got some allowance, but I was frequently told that it was less than any other parent in the universe allowed, certainly not enough for the things that Sam had acquired on his own.  I had to break it to Ben that I didn’t have the money to send him to Europe.

Ben probably figured what my answer was before I gave it, because he had a backup plan immediately after the “No” emerged from my mouth.  Sam had money in the bank and a car, so Ben said that it should fall on Sam to take the money out of the bank and buy a car for Ben.  Anything left over should be split between the two of them, which probably meant no trip to Europe for either of them.  After all, Sam didn’t really need a trip to Europe unless Ben could go, too.  Ben said that he wouldn’t mind someplace stateside instead.

So I did what every mother with equal compassion for her children would do.  I told Sam to march right down to the bank, withdraw money from his savings, and buy a car for Ben that cost at least as much as the car he had purchased for himself.  I told Sam that after Ben’s car was purchased, half of what remained should be given to his brother.  If there wasn’t enough to go to Europe, that was tough luck—a trip like that was extravagant, anyway.  I wondered how I could have raised someone that was so unfeeling towards his brother that he hadn’t been sharing it all since he had started working.

As they used to say in the good old 1990s:  NOT!

I think that Orwell was correct in 1984 in calling his government head “Big Brother” instead of “Big Mother.”  Most mothers would not be so heartless as to treat their children as unfairly as the government is proposing that we be treated to a greater and greater extent.  Why would we, as a society, not only allow our government to treat us this way, but to call this treatment compassionate?  As a society, we must allow the government to take some money to hold us together as a civil society, to give us the ability to exercise our right to pursue happiness.  The journey is guaranteed, the destination is not.

Providing for those among us who cannot provide for themselves is also desirable for a society, but providing for those among us who can provide for themselves is destructive.  It is not compassionate to trap citizens in a deep pit of welfare dependency and sense of hopelessness for generation after generation.  Simply passing out money is inadequate. Handouts to the truly needy may be necessary, but “Big Brother” has deprived many of our citizens from their right to pursue happiness by killing their initiative with easy money.

By the way, if I had not ended the story with NOT!, it would have continued on like this:

Sam quit his job and moved out.  No one lived happily ever after.  THE END . . . of more than just the story.

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Published in: on July 24, 2009 at 2:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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