the Olympics

by Ken on September 10, 2008

Like many in our country I watched part of the Olympics beamed in from Beijing. We Tivo’d lots of it and skipped through to the interesting parts. Tough to take so much time to watch all that was shown just to keep up with other peoples’ games. Got enough of my own.

But was very impressed with the entire event. The games were impressive; the athletes showed sides of human nature and ability that were inspiring. These guys and gals put it on the line. They devoted major chunks of their lives to becoming the best and then had to “do or die” at the moment allotted by others despite any personal feelings or conditions that might crop into their worlds at those given moments.

Any of us can think back to time that we had practiced and practiced something. And then at the given time we wanted to show our new skills to mom or dad, we choked. We hit the wrong note or we dropped one of the balls that we were juggling; though we hadn’t missed in the last few days of practice. But their eyes were upon us. Few of us fail to understand the pressure these young men and women felt during their moments in the light.

Metal or not, every individual who arrived and competed deserve our deepest respect.

And China; what a show. The opening ceremony was an astounding mix of ideas, execution, novelty, art and hard work.

Hard work is the operative here. Too often I have seen this quality in non-Americans in a quantity lacking in many Americans. It is not that we can’t work, or haven’t worked. It is just that without a hunger driven necessity we have fallen, at least in part, into the habit of taking for granted the vast fruits of the material world. We begin to take for granted what we have and forget what it takes to bring these things into existence.

Any in the construction industry have seen the hard working folks from Mexico – working harder than their American counterparts. They are happy, they sing, and they get their products.  And they don’t question getting up early, or working late. The Americans can, at times, be seen leaning on their rakes, looking at clouds or thinking of the coming Friday’s pool game, while the non-Americans happily get their products feeling lucky to be in America.

Americans are not, by nature, lazy. However our world has tended to become so full of pervasive opulence, that many forget how those things got here and begin to think that those very things are part of the landscape of life. To them, the things just are; they forget that these things were created.

China, as a prime producer of so much that we have today (just look at the labels) has embraced hard work as part of life.  And it is.  And we in America need to remember it.

The Chinese society seems to have more focus but that is not necessarily a good thing. That is more a product of central control that the natural nature of a free people. I’ll take our relative freedom any day.

But we need to be able to recognize China’s, and others’ viewpoints, and step outside ourselves and our society occasionally to to keep the perspective. Sometimes we need self-adjustment.

The Olympics left some valuable memories for me. And some insight, at least for me, that while I’m mighty happy to be an American,  that I, and we, need to kick ourselves up side the head and get back to work.

That might take tax structure changes; some law changes and maybe some attitude readjustments. And the only readjustments that I’d feel comfortable with are our own.

Regardless,  we need get production back over here as it was for so many years.

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