What does 'earned' mean
DONALD MYERS, A Mind ofWhen we think about earning something it generally refers to working at a certain task in order to receive some type of benefit.
Published: September 24, 2012
Published: September 24, 2012
In school, it means studying so that passing grades will be issued and after an appropriate time, some type of diploma will follow. In sports, it means being on a team and contributing to such a degree that you receive a letter for that sport.
In professional sports, it means being selected as the most valuable player or going to the Hall of Fame. In every case, the letter, diploma, or other award is earned and recognized by peers or fans.
In the military, one can look at the medals worn by an individual and determine where he has been and in many cases what he has done. The ranger patch is not issued, but earned and a sizable percentage of soldiers do not make it. In the Navy, the Seal emblem also is earned after grueling months of training and testing.
Pilot wings are only awarded after months of training and flight. In the Marines, recruits are no called Marines and issued the Eagle Globe and Anchor until near the end of Boot Camp and successful completion of the crucible. Each of these awards are earned and because of that, they are cherished and honored.
If any form of recognition is merely issued or given without some type of requirement or test then it is not recognized as worthwhile. That is especially true in the organization where the recognition is issued.
In the recent past, we have given awards to everyone who participated in junior sports such as Little League. We try to call this building self esteem for our children, but in reality it merely devalues the awards. Most of the children realize the difference.
The same is true in society in general. If everyone receives the same results no matter what the effort, then it does not take long before most people will not put in any effort. Why bother if more effort results in the same outcome.
Fortunately, there is a small percentage who will excel no matter what an organization does. With the proper motivation and guidance that small percentage can grow to a majority. That has been true in our country and resulted in the United States being the most prosperous and powerful country in history. Ingenuity and dedication have historically been rewarded as individuals and organizations earned the rewards.
Sadly, those individuals and organizations have been under attack lately and too often described as cheats who have taken advantage of the system. The coal and oil industries come to mind along with large banks, the insurance industry, and doctors to name a few.
Since there are always some who for whatever reason are unable to take care of themselves, we established safety nets so that they would not be left behind. Unfortunately, the safety net can turn into a hammock for some who desire to take advantage of the good will of others.
This recession has resulted in the most people ever on food stamps and the government continues to advertise for more to apply. We also have the most people on social security disability even as our work places are the safest ever. Other indicators of more reliance on government largesse are all on the upswing.
There are too many who believe that merely being an American earns them the right to live off the government. This week the media made a big deal about Governor Romney talking about the percentage of our population who do not pay income taxes and that he would have a difficult time getting their votes.
The truth is that we do have 47 percent of the wage earners who pay no income taxes. There are many in that group who do take advantage of government largesse who could be helping in pulling the government cart rather than riding in it. I suspect that Governor Romney would have difficulty getting their votes since his approach is to reduce the size of government. Any time that one truly earns some type of reward or benefit, it feels great. It is time to reemphasize that trait.
Donald J. Myers, a retired colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, is a regular columnist for Hernando Today. He lives in Spring Hill and can be contacted at email@example.com.