Our bridges, tunnels, and roadways are deteriorating and continue to be in serious decline. But what about other things that are corroding but aren’t as visible? For example, if you have tooth decay, and fail to address it, it will come back to bite you. The same holds true for the spirit and soul of our country — the glue that supports a healthy social fabric.
Problems don’t get better with age.
We have a crisis of moral character, and our social fabric is being torn apart every day. Raising voices, pointing fingers, and talking past each other won’t solve the problem. We must restore our foundation by getting back to basics, reinvesting in our people, and reaffirming the ideals that made our country great.
There is no excuse for the greatest nation in history to be leaving people behind. We must stop talking about our problems and start doing something about them.
If we don’t make it a priority, it won’t be a priority.
Rebuilding Our Crumbling Foundation
The best way to strengthen the underpinning of our society is by fortifying its foundation so that people can lead happy, productive, and purposeful lives. The glue that supports a healthy social fabric is composed of the following ingredients:
Family structure. Children require a happy, healthy, and stable family structure. It’s a parent’s responsibility to raise kids who have strong morals and who will be productive members of society. That includes giving them your unconditional love, being an active part of their lives, shaping their character, inspiring good habits, supporting the importance of education, encouraging personal responsibility, and most of all, being a good role model.
Our future is dependent on our kids. And the future of your children is dependent on you.
Personal responsibility. You have the freedom to choose, but you’re not free from the consequences of those choices. That’s your responsibility. Determine who you want to be; set the direction you wish to take; and focus your efforts on your goals. Be the master of your destiny with a vested interest in your actions.
Mental attitude. One of the biggest obstacles to success lies within each of us. Some people blame scapegoats for their setbacks and difficulties. The truth is, your mindset matters more than you think. If you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, don’t blame the mirror. Ability determines if you can; attitude determines if you will.
Education. Learning is as much an attitude as it is an activity. If you think the world is going to stand still because you’re not interested or motivated enough to make an investment in yourself, you’re sadly mistaken. Unless you learn something new every day, you’re becoming obsolete.
Work ethic. Hard work builds character, promotes dignity, gives you control over your life, and promotes happiness. The converse is also true. When people are rewarded without making the effort, it reduces confidence, promotes dependency, and robs individuals of their personal dignity.
Moral compass. Senator Alan Simpson said it well, “If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.” That doesn’t happen by magic. If you want to raise kids with strong moral character, strengthen your organization’s culture, or encourage citizens to be productive members of society, don’t look to change their behavior, examine your own. Lead by example.
The Way Forward: Rebuilding Our Social Fabric
The crux of the problem is that we’ve become entitled. It takes hard work to raise a family, it takes time to invest in your personal growth, and it takes courage to do the right thing. But instead of rising to the occasion, and accepting responsibility for our lives, we expect others to do everything for us. And yet we still expect the rewards that come from leading a noble life.
When people have everything handed to them, without earning it, it lulls them into a false sense of security and complacency that weakens their ability to function in the real world. They lose control of their destiny and become dependent on the kindness of others.
Helping people too much only makes them helpless.
On the other hand, when people rise to the occasion and take responsibility for all aspects of their life, they succeed based on their own merits. Every day that they make the effort, they build strength; every time that they overcome a challenge, they build determination; and every milestone that they cross builds confidence. The hard work and sacrifice make them better and stronger every day.
Compassion shouldn’t be measured by the number of people we help, but by our ability to provide opportunity to reduce dependency, enabling people to become self-sufficient and helping them to realize their dreams — all of which is a giant step toward rebuilding the healthy social fabric of our nation. It can’t be done for us. It must be done by us.
Our Social Fabric Binds Us Together
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