One thing I’ve noticed over the past couple of decades is that young people no longer have the work ethic that once ruled most of America. I can’t tell you how many people in their twenties and younger I’ve known that feel entitled to many of the things that I had to work for. They are wasteful; throwing perfectly good office supplies away because they were used once, and then turn around and order replacement supplies. I’ve also met far too many that refused to take a menial job because it was beneath them.
In junior high school, I wanted an electric typewriter, so I had to find ways to work and earn the money to buy it. I mowed lawns in the Arizona summer for 50¢ a lawn and I shoveled out horse corrals and painted them for $1 an hour. I even caught scorpions and sold them to a professor at Arizona State University for 5¢ each. I earned enough money to buy my typewriter and it meant so much to me that years later after owning a personal computer, I hated to sell that typewriter.
I still have that same work ethic today at 62. I have doctors telling me that I more than qualify for permanent medical disability, but that goes against every part of my nature. As long as I can still work at something and provide for my wife and me, then I will continue to do so because that is the work ethic I was raised with. That is the work ethic that helped make America great.
So when I see a young person trying to work to earn money these days, I admire them for their work ethic that seems to be disappearing in today’s world. But not everyone shares my same admiration for them.
It seems the city of Portland, Oregon would rather allow people to beg for money to buy pot than to help encourage and reward a young person trying to earn money to pay for their braces.
Meet 11 year old Madison Root. She went to her uncle’s farm, climbed tree after tree, harvesting mistletoe. Then she bagged it all up and headed to the Portland Saturday Market to sell it in an effort to earn money to help pay for her braces. She began trying to sell her freshly cut mistletoe, but market authorities got one of their private security guards to stop her. They told her that she could not sell her wares without proper city approval and documentation. Then the guard told her that she could try to sell her mistletoe outside the park boundaries or she could just beg for donations.
Madison looked around and saw people with signs, begging for money so they could buy pot. They were allowed to do this but she was not allowed to sell her items. Madison commented about what she was told, saying:
“I don’t want to beg! I would rather work for something than beg. I wouldn’t think I’d have any problems because people are asking for money, people are selling stuff, this is a public place.”
“There are people next to me that have big signs that say ‘Got Pot?’ They’re raising money for pot.”
Madison’s father, Ashton Root told the news media:
“The guard told her she can beg if she wanted but she can’t sell the mistletoe. [His daughter] does not want to encourage begging and wants people to earn their living… She is so keen on high work ethic.”
Other vendors at the market say that they had to go through a vetting process and then pay for their spaces at the market. They also say that they don’t want the market to be overrun with many street vendors. However, one vendor said that she felt for Madison and hopes that she finds a way to raise the money to help her father pay for her braces.
Once the news of Madison’s ordeal was made public, her father said:
“Mistletoe orders mushroomed… even McKinzei Farms, one of the biggest selling Christmas tree farms in the area, made a $1,000 donation to Madison’s braces.”
Madison’s hard work and attempt to raise her own money has paid off for her and her father as enough money came in to fit her with her first set of braces on Monday. She appreciates her braces more having worked for some of the money to pay for them. I only hope that she continues on with the same work ethic as she will learn to appreciate many of the things she earns a lot more than if they had been given to her, I know I do.