We expect children to be selfish. Once on the swing, they don’t want to get off so someone else can have a turn pretending to fly. They forget that they used to need a big kid to get off the swing, give them a push, and teach them to pump their legs in order to capture the fabulous sensation they are now loathe to lose.
As parents, we remind older siblings to get down in order to help their younger siblings get up. For a while, people pledged to “pay it forward.” Now, Rick Perry calls the government’s clearest example of the principle (no-matter how imperfectly executed), Social Security, a Ponzi scheme.
I see it everywhere. Famous professor mentor a student as s/he once was in order to become a famous professor? Terribly sorry; too busy; maybe next year. Let new people build condos near my country retreat? Heavens no! It would degrade the environment and spoil my view. Allow immigrants employment? Eeegads, they’ll undo the economy. I’ll tell you why after I finish looking through these Ellis Island records for my ancestors.
NPR reported that Californians found themselves locked out of their gated communities during the recent power outage. I fear the image gave me a moment’s glee. They finally got to remember what it was to be on the outside looking in. Had they ever met their neighbors, one might have helped them outsmart the system. Life Far from the Madding Crowd can be as lonely as it is exhilarating.
Look at my sons’ faces. All pleasures improve when shared.