Beating Swords Into Plowshares
A Willowbrook Story, Part 2, with Geraldo Rivera

Nest Eggs, Fried Eggs, and the Real Life

Twentysomethings are not so distraught by today’s financial crisis as you might think. “All we have to lose is a crummy job,” one of them told me. (He actually said "crappy," but I have cleaned his remark up for the internet.) It’s the older generation’s problem.

Might there even be a certain delight….a certain “payback” to the generation or two that inherited a world of pensions, good pay, and job security…..and left for their kids a boatload of McJobs…low-paying jobs with no security, no health benefits, and little advancement. Even pleasant souls likeRagoth, a grad student presumably not destined for a McJob, seem unconcerned. Yes, it's tragic, he allows. Still, he is yet in school and has his job. Fair’s fair, I guess. There were recessions in both 1974 and 1982, yet a much younger me barely noticed.

But if the kids aren’t really sweating it, many folks my age are devastated. They were planning to retire…some could practically taste it….and now with 401Ks decimated they find they must keep right on working. That’s assuming they have work…..the tougher cases are being laid off just as they've reached this sad conclusion. Worse, some already retired find their secure retirement income isn't so secure as they thought. They may have to return to work (at age 80). Nest eggs changed into fried eggs, as one pundit put it.

Spiritual views must come into play here, because to the extent people bought into this system, adopting the hopes and dreams of a predominantly materialistic, consumer driven society….to that extent they’ve been let down and let down pretty hard. Some have been crushed. As the psychological types constantly remind us, it’s not really what happens to us…’s how we feel about what’s happened to us…..that determines our emotional well-being. If you've been yearning for the good life in your later years with all your heart and soul...and it's an easy yearning to develop since the world constantly dangles it in front of us, you may have been let down hard.

Grousers and soreheads of every stripe abound on the internet, (sometimes I think there’s no one else) and Jehovah’s Witnesses, too, have their share of detractors……if not more than their share. They’ll rail against the JW organization, their view of the Bible, their recommended way of life, their worldview. It’s brainwashing, it’s deception, it’s missing out on the marvels and joys that the world promises, they holler. Man, who’s hollering now? It’s Jehovah’s Witnesses who are best protected emotionally, and those who looked to this world for security the least.

Look, don’t misunderstand. I’m not thrilled with what’s happened either. I’ve taken significant hits, along with most others my age. Many have been hurt far worse. But I was going to serve Jehovah throughout my days anyway, and now I still am. Jehovah’s Witnesses never imagined this system to be a source of security. The three words of Jesus with the most impact for the future…..”thy kingdom come.”…..this is what we believe, represent, and look forward to. If latter years turn out a little rougher than we until recently thought, well… was only a question of timing. None of us envisioned the success of human rule, and all of us look to God’s Kingdom as the ultimate solution to the planet’s chaos. Much of the world has far more than monetary chaos to worry about.

Paul said:

Give orders to those who are rich in the present system of things not to be high-minded, and to rest their hope, not on uncertain riches, but on God, who furnishes us all things richly for our enjoyment; to work at good, to be rich in fine works, to be liberal, ready to share, safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future, in order that they may get a firm hold on the real life.    1 Tim 6:17-19  

It’s not bad counsel, is it? And I don’t mean to imply that no one other than Jehovah’s Witnesses have ever observed it, but it does typify our lifestyle, teachings and organization. It probably is us who take it the most seriously. Cruise the internet and see we are derided for it from various pundits who are keeping score and have discovered that, as a group, Jehovah's Witnesses have less toys and money than many others. But it's largely due to observing the above counsel. Since their inception, Jehovah's Witnesses have deliberately stressed pursuing the simple life that allows time and energy for spiritual things. We hear it constantly: the “real life” is life in the new system, “riches” in this world are most uncertain, “store up treasures in heaven” and so forth. It eventually sinks in.

Give me neither poverty nor riches..... Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is Jehovah? Or lest I be poor, and steal.    Prov 30:8-9 ASV

Money's not a bad thing, make no mistake. You don't want poverty, for obvious reasons. But neither do "riches" come without risk. In western lands, where Consumer Reports is the Bible, and the mall is the center of worship, plenty of  “full” people have learned to "deny thee, and say, Who is Jehovah?" But riches have not been kind lately to those who trust in them.


Tom Irregardless and Me     No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'


Awake In Rochester

I've been watching the local news, and many parents are saying that they will go without any gifts this Christmas in order to keep giving to their kids. One kid was in line at Best Buys for a new computer. It was on sale for $300, and said that he was "saving my mom money." He looked 18ish. The younger generation doesn't get what's going on. They just want the same things as always.

Tom Sheepandgoats Harley

Agreed. I took little interest in current events at that age as well. Other things on my mind.

Ed Hughes

There are a lot of 20something kids out there that are hurting but may not have come to the full realization of it yet. They are probably many still going to Colleges and Universities on their parent’s paycheck and savings, hard times are probably not over and maybe just starting, so I figure the enrollments will drop. The kids will then have to go out and get one of these McJobs, I do hope that they are not so spoiled that they refuse to work at jobs such as that, my first jobs (7th Grade through HS Graduation during the summer, which included one month before school was out for summer, for irrigating and repairing anything on the place from the past winter ravages. Then starting school 1 month late to get in the crops and put up hay for the cattle, which would feed them for the winter.) Working on farms and ranches the pay wasn’t much but you never went hungry because we received bread and board also. There were no fast food places in those days. They tell me no one but migrant workers will do that work anymore but I think anyone that says that is wrong. Or maybe I am wrong? People should always be thankful to have any kind of job, as long as it is an honorable job. And to raise your children not to appreciate the fruits of their labor is an erroneous thought. The religious aspect that implies everything must be done for God is not necessarily the only way, that is my own opinion and I do not force that on anyone. I found these words that follow to be one of the key efforts that no longer seem to be followed in pointing ones children in the direction that will make them a person of value to their fellow man, and maybe to the Lord also?

"He that spareth the rod, hateth his son: But he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." (Prov. 13:24). And upon this is grounded that plain commandment, directed to all that fear God, "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying." (Prov. 19:18)


Tom Sheepandgoats Harley

Finally, you are getting with the program, quoting scripture!

Whatever the kids are today, it's the world they were born into and the thinking they were fed from birth. I don't think it's the mcJobs per se that bums them; it's that increasingly there's nothing BUT mcJobs. I've no doubt there's yet plenty of youngsters in college on the parents dime. Still, over time, I think a greater proportion are shouldering the load themselves, through loans and work. I don't think it's an easy time to grow up in, notwithstanding that this is a land of material plenty.

My first job, while in high school, was in a Bell's supermarket. It was very good for me. I gained experience in the working world and learned a the razor-thin margins supermarkets operate on. Bells is long defunct. The present space is a bingo parlor. Wegmans is the dominant food chain in town now and Fortune 500 has for 11 years running counted them among the top 10 best places to work!

I hear the same as you about harvesting work. A shame, really, because the pay is not too bad....besting most mcJobs, for example (though the work itself is harder). Many a youngster has worked his way around the world through this means. Alas, I sort of wish I'd thought of it when I was younger.

Ed Hughes

I have read much scripture in the past, and I do not quote it often. I only did that because it is appropriate on this site. I would have preferred to say spare the rod spoil the child it has many fewer words and maybe does not have quite the connotation that the scripture has, but my Grandson understands it very well. And if I had used those words of scripture on him he would probably have responded with. “What does that mean, Papa?”

You are right about the attitudes of the average child of today being what it is. They look at the world as if it is a plumb waiting for their picking, did their parents pick it before these children could locates it? In my generation nearly anyone that wanted to work had an available job, but many felt it had been a hard life for them so they softened and wanted to give those things they never had to their children, that was probably a mistake on the part of many people. I do not claim to be the perfect parent or person, but I tried to instill in my children a work ethic and the appreciation of a job well done. They worked from the time they knew how to spell the word and they were always treated by us, their parents, as if we placed large value on their labor. Out of my three children two of them paid their own way through college, and have never been without a job since they started college. The youngest one never went to college but she has never been unemployed, and has moved up in the workforce on a continuing basis. This is not to say that they all were perfect children, because they weren’t, and most of them have raised their children to have the same outlook as was instilled in them. I feel very fortunate to have the children that I have, I expect what I really mean to say is that they responded to life the way I wanted them to. I see many who are not that fortunate because of the actions of their children and I can review in my own mind what I know about that family and I find one thing for certain is the problem can usually be related to the child’s upbringing, and the abundant material things that children have viewed as necessary in their life today; such as constant tv used as a babysitter for the child, as well as constant video games and unlimited computer access along with internet use, and all the other modes of entertainment such as automobile use, atv’s and other assorted goodies, and the way these things enchant these children they are under the impression they can make a living playing with these things.

He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment. (Proverbs 12:11)



No sir, riches have certainly not been kind. I've been reading your blog for a little while, and will keep on coming back. Nice article.

Tom Sheepandgoats Harley

Thank you, Rahel. Good to hear from you.

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