In the course of raising three children with his wife, Melissa, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska saw a “coming-of-age crisis” among the nation’s youth, which he sets out to fix with his new book, “The Vanishing American Adult” (St. Martin’s). In this excerpt from the book, he looks at how the concept of work has changed over the generations and why kids today need to experience and embrace “work pain” in order to fully grow up …
My grandmother Elda Krebs Sasse was a giant, though she stood barely 4 feet, 11 inches and probably never tipped the scales at a full 100 pounds. She never raised her voice — except to break into what her six sisters called her infectious “cackle-laughing” — yet her personality always found a way to dominate the room.
One of nine kids born to a second-generation immigrant family in windy, rural Diller, Neb. (population 327), Grandma grew up poor, working the family farm during the Great Depression. It was at home — and thus work — that she met my grandfather, who was hired as a farm boy by her dad in the 1930s. They were married in May 1941, him at age 22 and her 21.
Their first leased home had no indoor plumbing or running water. Their plot of land was north of town on Commercial Road, where they planned to start their own corn and bean farm. Just as they were settling down, World War II started up, and Grandpa was on his way to Europe. He would serve for over three years, with stops in Germany and England, as a wartime “mayor” of a regional factory town in the latter.
Grandma had just given birth to their first baby, my uncle Roger. With Elmer in Europe, she had no choice but to run the farm they had just leased. Though she’d grown up on a farm, she’d never driven a tractor. Fall was coming, and no one else was coming to do the work. So she jerry-rigged a way to attach the baby’s bassinet to the side of the lumbering old John Deere as she taught herself to harvest.
Elda regarded this fact as 100 percent uninteresting. “It was simply what needed to be done.” I know this story not because she ever thought to offer it but because I was always interrogating my grandparents for war stories as a child.
There was a matter-of-factness about them that, in fact, wasn’t extraordinary for much of their generation. This nose-to-the-grindstone, get-it-done attitude can still be heard today in conversations about work and callings with many aging members of the Greatest Generation I encounter.
Americans long regarded work differently than the rest of the world, but that difference is slipping away. Our national forebears had an almost compulsive preference for productivity over passivity.
“There is probably no people on earth with whom business constitutes pleasure, and industry amusement, in an equal degree with the inhabitants of the United States of America,” observed the Englishman Francis Grund in the mid-1830s. “Active occupation is not only the principal source of their happiness and the foundation of their national greatness, but they are absolutely wretched without it.”
The Puritan work ethic — and its cousins “Yankee ingenuity” and later “rugged individualism,” which would be truly achieved only when America had worked through its original sin of slavery — helped form a shared identity for the American people. It was an almost liturgical touchstone that all Americans, across geography, race, gender and denomination, came to esteem together.
Our ancestors’ suspicion of leisure endured until the dawn of the 20th century, when the Industrial Revolution delivered vast wealth and efficiencies along with a growing middle class that didn’t need to work as hard to subsist. The change wasn’t just that material surplus can breed materialism and sloth. It is also that material abundance and economies of scale, despite all their benefits, also often make our work less meaningful and more disconnected and robotic. Industrial life is fundamentally different from the neighborly work of the village.
Matthew Crawford wrote about this in his 2009 book “Shop Class as Soulcraft,” arguing that a cultural shift away from teaching “the trades” — the sort of skilled labor people go to vocational school or community college to learn — has made people more passive and dependent, less aware of the satisfaction of completing any manual task well. “What ordinary people once made, they now buy; and what they once fixed for themselves, they replace entirely or hire an expert to repair, whose expert fix often involves replacing an entire system because some minute component has failed.” Our global systems of production have radically reduced the prices of almost everything, but they have also come at the cost of promoting a new mentality that everything is disposable.
“If the modern personality is being reorganized on a predicate of passive consumption,” Crawford writes, “this is bound to affect our political culture.” It’s also bound to erode Americans’ desire and ability to work hard, to atrophy our drive toward larger, common projects.
In the summer of 2016, the hashtag #firstsevenjobs began trending on Twitter. People from all walks of life started listing and celebrating their first seven jobs: “Assembly-line worker; dishwasher; truck driver; editor; think-tank fellow; author; professor.” Another: “Burger King cashier; waitress at Poppin’ Fresh Pies; filing clerk; cold caller for a stock broker; banker; director of credit; CFO.”
I am a “first jobs” nerd. I ask friends and strangers, candidates interviewing for jobs and random Nebraskans at sporting events: What was your first job? What was the first hard thing you completed? What is the single hardest thing you’ve ever done?
My first seven jobs were:
· Bean walker
· Lemonade sales
· Stadium pop sales
· Corn detasseler
· Bike buyer-seller
· Roguing (corn, again)
· Lifeguard/swim lesson
Most kids who have detasseled will tell you it’s the hardest job they’ve ever done. I remember days when I’d come inside in the afternoon, fall asleep and sleep straight through until the next morning when the alarm went off at 4:30 again. But, despite the suffering, the money was great for a 13-year-old: minimum wage plus a retroactive bonus of 15 cents an hour if you never missed a day.
Melissa and I think it’s important for our kids to learn how to suffer. Some might hear that phrase as unloving but it is actually the opposite. Neither our children nor your children will grow up to be free, independent, self-respecting adults if we hand them everything without the expectation of something in return.
Our friend helped us find a place where an earthy old rancher and his wife and three grown children and a new grandbaby lived and worked. We left her with little advice other than to make us proud by working hard, to ask for coaching and to never let her overseers hear her complain.
March in Nebraska is calving season. That’s when heifers give birth. It’s one of the busiest times of a rancher’s year — and a perfect time for a young girl to learn the ropes and add some genuine value.
Once she settled in, she would send me regular text messages about what she had done that day. Because many of her texts were funny, I began to tweet some of them out (my Twitter account is @bensasse) with #FromTheRanch. One of the recurring lessons was that calving is dirty, smelly and wet work.
Got an orphaned heifer to take her whole bottle. (Also got tons of nose slime & snot on my jeans.)
My day: Learned to coil barbwire; backed trailer w/ 4wheeler; & dropped 2 cows for slaughter.
To the cows we left for slaughter in Wausa I said: ‘We are done feeding you. Now it’s your turn to feed us.’
As the month wore on, my impromptu #FromTheRanch tweets attracted attention. As I traveled Nebraska over the next couple months, just about everyone I met wanted to talk about my daughter’s experiences on the ranch.
Parents wanted to know how they could make their kids suffer, too. I found this unexpected but repeated questioning strangely comforting. Parent after parent wanted advice: How could their kid get a similar wake-up-call experience?
The huddles of these anxious parents convinced me that there is a deep desire for a broader conversation about the cultural challenges of passing a meaningful work ethic on to the rising generation.
Many of our young people remain overachievers, of course. In his 2014 book “Excellent Sheep,” retiring Yale professor William Deresiewicz describes students at America’s elite schools as “smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost.”
He suggests that although many adolescents can fill page after page of a résumé, they have “little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.”
So much of our culture works against this intentional embrace of work.
In our effort to develop our kids’ talents, to provide them with a set of extracurricular experiences even more impressive than our own to help them stand out from the rest of the college-bound crowd, many of us might be unintentionally displacing lifelong “eulogy virtues” in favor of mere “résumé virtues.”
Yet, unwittingly, so much of our culture works against this intentional embrace of work. Soon after my retweets about Corrie’s time at the ranch appeared, multiple lawyers contacted me to let me know that we had probably violated labor laws by allowing our 14-year-old to work on that cattle ranch.
My wife and I hadn’t thought for a moment that we might be running afoul of any Department of Labor edicts and mandates — nor had the ranchers or their grown children who have worked with cattle for decades. But upon further digging, it turns out that some existing state and federal laws make it very difficult for teens to develop good work habits and the beginner skills needed in the marketplace.
In effect, the laws exist to do everything possible to prevent 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds from working, whether it’s limiting shifts to four hours or capping a teen’s work week at three nonconsecutive days. Government policies presume the centrality — and almost exclusivity — of schooling in the upbringing of our adolescents.
These well-meaning rules can thus unhelpfully exacerbate the challenge of intentional parenting by foreclosing the options available to parents and kids who aim to build character and hone their self-discipline through productive work experiences. Please do not misunderstand: I’m not in favor of repealing child-labor laws. But the older American ethic — of teaching kids why good work rather than the absence of work will make them happy — must be recovered in order to serve our kids better.
By Ben Sasse New York Post
And the prize for most offensive stealth Nazism goes to….. Portland’s social justice correctness warriors
Evil white women
“Cultural appropriation” is the latest sin to be invented by leftist social justice warriors.
The basic premise is this: “white” people can’t appropriate anything at all from any culture that isn’t their own, especially from third world cultures.
This aggressive new sort of reverse racism has a peculiarly nasty totalitarian stealth-Nazi feel to it, for it aims to control behavior in extreme ways, through prohibitions of all sorts based on race and nationality.
Of course, those who invented this sin call those who disagree with them “Nazis,” but the ironic twist here is that the inventors of this sin are much more similar to Nazis than any white supremacist.
Anyone who has lived in Castrogonia or any totalitarian state knows exactly where this crap is coming from and to where it is leading us all.
Take, for instance, this latest bit of insanity in Portland, Oregon, where two “white women” were forced to close their Burrito restaurant simply because they were “white” instead of Mexican.
I suppose this means that some time soon my “white” wife could get arrested for cooking Cuban food….
… and that would be only the tip of the iceberg… er….forgive the cultural appropriation lodged in that metaphor, please… I don’t mean to usurp anything from Eskimos…er, forgive me…the Innuit People….er… Inupiat, Yupik, and Alutiit peoples, forgive me please…
Now, as for all those so-called Cuban Sandwiches now available everywhere….. including those on pumpernickel bread….. well, eeeexxxxcccuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me!
As S.J. Perelman once said, “De gustibus ain’t what dey used to be.”
Cancelled: Offensive “white” burrito
From the one and only Daily Mail, only a couple of headlines away from the Manchester terror bombing……
White women’s burrito shop is forced to close after being hounded with accusations it was ‘culturally appropriating Mexican food and jobs’
Two white women have been forced to close their pop-up burrito shop after they were accused of cultural appropriation.
Kali Wilgus and Liz ‘LC’ Connelly opened Kooks Burritos in Portland, Oregon, after taking a trip to Puerto Nuevo, Mexico, last December.
For the first few months, the weekend pop-up shop housed in an taco truck was a smash hit. It gained so much popularity, a local weekly newspaper decided to profile the entrepreneurial duo.
But that’s when the trouble started for Wilgus and Connelly, after quotes they gave to the Williamette Week led to them being accused of stealing their success.
Explaining their trip, Connelly told the newspaper: ‘I picked the brains of every tortilla lady there in the worst broken Spanish ever, and they showed me a little of what they did.
‘In Puerto Nuevo, you can eat $5 lobster on the beach, which they give you with this bucket of tortillas. They are handmade flour tortillas that are stretchy and a little buttery, and best of all, unlimited.
‘They wouldn’t tell us too much about technique, but we were peeking into the windows of every kitchen, totally fascinated by how easy they made it look. We learned quickly it isn’t quite that easy.’
Those comments were latched onto by a food blog in the Portland Mercury, which accused Wilgus and Connelly of ‘preying’ on the women they met in Mexico.
Continue reading HERE for shock after shock…. more insane statements crammed into one news article than any sane person could ever imagine
Mayor de Blasio says he’ll march in the National Puerto Rican Day Parade despite its honoring of Oscar López Rivera, an unrepentant terrorist leader.
The mayor’s trying to dodge that fact. On Wednesday, he spoke of OLR’s ties to the FALN, which “did things I don’t agree with, obviously, and they were illegal.”
But López Rivera wasn’t just affiliated with the FALN terrorists — he was a leader of their Chicago cell. And when the FBI arrested him all those years ago, it found dynamite, detonators and firearms in two of his homes. At trial, a witness testified that López Rivera trained him in making bombs.
Why does de Blasio claim he has renounced terror? City Hall cites OLR’s words to the Guardian: “We realized other tactics to armed force could be more effective,” followed by “Morally, we came to see . . . that if we are advocating for a better world then there are things you cannot do,” plus, “We have transcended violence.”
None of which repudiates his past actions.
And he still scorns the FALN’s victims. In a recent interview, he recalls his attitude toward surviving family members at his 2011 parole hearing: “If you don’t respect me, why should I reciprocate? I wasn’t there to tell them, ‘Hey, listen, I’m sorry.’ That’s not me.”
You see why the NYPD Hispanic Society says it won’t march in the parade, and why more sponsors may follow Goya Foods in withdrawing.
De Blasio is mayor of a town targeted by the FALN then and by other terrorists now, a city that lost thousands on 9/11. He skipped the St. Patrick’s Day Parade when he thought it sent the wrong message. He ought to do the same now.
By New York Post Editorial Board May 18, 2017
A lot of people are talking about socialism these days, and believe that it will make our country better. But the reality of socialism does not match the picture in our minds.
Socialism has always resulted in failed economies, police states, and loss of life.
For flight attendants, who often spend more than 80 hours in the air a month, traveling can become almost second nature.
So who better to turn to for travel tips and tricks than the people with extensive knowledge on the matter?
We asked flight attendants to share their best travel hacks with us and scoured the internet for more.
Here are 13 things that could help make your travel experiences easier and more enjoyable:
Get more attentive service from your flight attendants
“While most passengers tend to choose seats that are at the front of the aircraft so that they can disembark first and have a better chance of securing their preferred meal option, flight attendants know that if you’re sitting towards the back, you’ll receive the most attentive service.
“The reason is simple: We like to avoid responding to call bells from the front of the plane because answering one means potentially flaunting whatever item the passenger has requested to everyone else along the way. This can cause a problem since planes often don’t have enough extra vodka, pillows, earplugs, and toothbrushes, or the time on shorter flights to deviate from the service schedule.
“For passengers sitting near the back of the plane, however, it’s much easier to slip in that second mini bottle of wine.”
Iron your clothes faster
“Use your flat iron to touch up your clothes when you’re in a rush and there’s no time for the ironing board.”
— A flight attendant with 30 years’ experience
Always sleep in clean sheets
“Don’t sleep on hotel sheets that don’t have creases from being folded; someone slept on them already.”
— A flight attendant with 19 years’ experience
Keep the hotel room dark
“Use the clips on the pants hangers in the hotel room to clip your curtains together so there is no light coming through.”
— A flight attendant with 15 years’ experience
Avoid doing damage to your hearing
“Avoid flying if you have a severe cold. It can damage your eardrums, and you may lose your hearing. It happened to me once — I couldn’t hear properly for a week, and it hurt like hell.”
Avoid being seated near a baby
“While there’s no escaping (or blaming) the shrill of an upset child, you can lower your odds of sitting directly next to one by choosing a seat that’s located far from the partitions on board.
“These partitions, which go by the technical name ‘bulkheads,’ are the only places on an aircraft where a parent can safely secure a baby’s bassinet — and are, therefore, where most children under one year old will be situated.”
Fight jet lag
“What helps me sleep is having a bedtime ritual. Stop using electronics one hour before bedtime, have a cup of tea, and read a bit. Usually that does the trick, but if I can’t sleep after an hour I just get up, do something else, and then try again.”
“Before your trip, call your hotel and check to see if they have a washer/dryer available. If so, bring a couple detergent packs and dryer sheets in a Ziploc bag, and it eliminates two to four days’ worth of clothes, depending on your stay.”
— A flight attendant with one year of experience
Get through customs in a jiff
“Pay for Global Entry — it’s totally worth it.”
— An anonymous flight attendant
Save space in your suitcase
“My favorite travel hack is definitely the clothes-roll technique. I am often gone from home for several days, even up to three weeks, and I save space by rolling my clothes instead of folding them.”
— A flight attendant with one year of experience
Never miss out on free breakfast
“If you know you’re not going to be able to attend whatever complimentary meal they’re offering because you’re leaving before it starts or you know you’re not going to be up until after it’s over, check with the hotel to see if there’s some kind of snack or sack lunch they can provide before or ahead of time. Usually it’s just a piece of fruit, a bottle of water, and a thing of string cheese, but that’s saved my growling stomach on several occasions.”
— A flight attendant with one year of experience
Get a cheaper upgrade
“Some airlines do offer reduced-price upgrades the day of the flight — there’s sometimes even first-class flights available. So be in the boarding area good and early during boarding, because this is when you’ll hear the announcements for last-minute upgrade purchases you might be able to get. It’s not for every airline, but it does happen.”
— A flight attendant with three years of experience
Don’t miss out on the first-class upgrade if you qualify for it
“I think it’s great we don’t have to travel in suits and high heels anymore. You can be comfortable. But you can also be classy and comfortable. Check your air carrier’s rules — there are still dress codes sometimes in first class and, who knows, maybe, miracle of the day, you’ll get that cheap upgrade to first class. Be comfortable, but if you can avoid wearing your pajamas, that’s great.”
— A flight attendant with three years of experience