Sunday, June 6, 2010

Principles of Freedom and Prosperity

Tonight as my husband and I took an evening walk together we met some new neighbors who were out cutting wood for the coming winter. The father was out working side by side with his sons, ages 11 and 14. It was a WONDERFUL sight. They live in a duplex. Their neighbors paid $280.00 for their utility bill last month, while they paid only $88.
And then we walked home and saw in our own yard the raised garden bed that we are 95% done building and anxious to finish building and plant our first garden in. As I looked at these sites, I reflected upon the principles of freedom that I am seeing in action; and an incredible feeling of peace and joy came over me.

There have been times when my husband and I have found our family financially strapped and wanting in a very big way. Even with savings, each year, things would get so financially tight in the winter months of November and December that we found ourselves in need of help to feed our children. It was SO hard, but we would go to our bishop at church and ask for food.

When things got even harder, and we anticipated needing help longer than two months, we made the painful decision to go to the government for food; we were still working (tons of work when you own your own business which has new infrastructure constantly under reconstruction), just not getting paid. We also did odd jobs in addition to our own self employed work to try to make ends meet – but it wasn’t enough. We knew the church charity program was meant to be temporary and felt that the winter months were simply not temporary enough (though that was purely our own decision – not the churches), so we applied for government help with food.

Then we began studying history, the Constitution and government together in our homeschooling. Our eyes were opened. We learned more about the moral principles which were lived as a whole when America was founded, which caused America to become the richest, most prosperous nation in the world. These principles include independence, self reliance, frugality, hard work, integrity, and honesty. Remember the lesson John Smith taught the colonists of Jamestown… if you don’t work, you don’t eat? Incentive that proved to invite prosperity to a people who were starving!

In our studies we came to realize that Americans live very differently now than they did when America was more prosperous. We learned that there are many government programs that are being used which cost the government billions of dollars… and that the government has to raise taxes to pay for these programs. We learned that when you go on a government program… you choose to force all tax paying Americans to pay for the need that program provides, rather than working by the sweat of your brow to provide that need for yourself.

Long story short… we realized that to choose to use a program without first exhausting every means one has of doing what they can for themselves, is to choose to increase taxes for everyone and to make all of America poorer. It is also to choose to NOT be independent, self reliant, honest, and to have integrity… since it is basically forcing others to pay for what you get from the program.

Government programs are not like charity programs. Charity is when people give freely of their own accord, without being forced. And many Americans are impressively good at this. America is there through church donations, Red Cross, and many other Charity programs helping people every day. These programs are good, and we have great reason to be proud of Americans for being so generous and giving not only to Americans, but also to persons of other countries.

But government programs are not charity. They are not run off money that is donated; they are run off money which is stolen from the people… whether the American people agree with the program, or not; taken from paychecks in taxes, whether the workers want to donate to that specific cause or not.

To take without consent is to steal. To be on a program funded by stolen money is to steal. This is not independent (or interdependent), nor is it honest. If one claims to be an honest person and needlessly takes from programs funded this way, then one is not living with integrity. These are hard truths that my husband and I had staring us in the face when our youngest child learned these principles and turned to us and asked… “We don’t use these programs, do we?” When we honestly said “yes” all of our children turned to us with bewilderment and asked us with shock, “why?”

It was at that moment that we knew we needed to find another way to feed our family – year round. – And it was at that moment when the words of my Relief Society leader’s words rang in my ears when I told her we would no longer need assistance in the winter due to having applied for food stamps. I first told her we just felt that our need was too long to ask for help. Her response was, “but you are doing all you can, and though it is long, it is still temporary.” She was right that we thought we were doing all we could at the time. She was right that it was temporary. But with great thought and prayer we determined that there was more that we could do, and that we needed to exhaust every independent resource possible to live the principles that we knew our Savior Jesus Christ inspired our Founding Fathers to instill in our Constitution – to bless us so that we can prosper as a country, and as a family.

And so the goals were set. We planted fruit trees and berry bushes, but we knew we could do more. The berry bushes were not doing well. So we talked to someone who has bushes that are out of control about thinning their bushes and taking the surplus that they would have thrown out to plant on our property and we decided to finally build a raised garden bed (we didn’t think we had room for it before we determined we must have one). And of course, we determined to do everything we possibly can to live frugally and save more money for winter so that we can provide for ourselves with greater independence. We also determined that if after doing all we can do, if we are still short, then charity will have to do – no more government bought food.

I am so thankful for our Savior. I am thankful for His love for us always, no matter what, even when we fall so short. I know Christ does not judge us harshly for having used government programs in the past; and I will judge no one who feels the need to use it. But as for me, I am determined to strive to never use another government program again… I will work, sweat, do ALL that I possibly to avoid it. And I pray the lord will bless our family’s efforts that they will be enough...

May we all be blessed with Happy and Prosperous Living! ;)

Corine :D


  1. WoW such a beautiful post! I love it that you are open and honest with your children and that you are teaching them these wonderful truths and principles! I admire you!

  2. I agree with That Crazy Family. Have you read the book, "Animal, Vegetable Miracle"? I read it a few years ago and just loved it!

    Way to be a great example to the rest of us! And thank you for being so open. It's not always easy.

  3. Crazy lady... ;) - Thank you so much for your comment! I'm really glad you enjoyed it. :)

    Rachel - I haven't read it yet; thanks for the reference! And thank you for your comment, too. It really can be very hard to be open about things like this.

  4. Love this post. I feel the same way. Being on one income, and that of a Retail Employee, homeschooling in a touristy town of high prices - gets challenging. But we all make choices - which led to our low income today - and We should be responsible for that, not other families paying taxes. :) For us, in Oregon, we do not qualify for govt assistance - even when hubby was working minimum wage - so he'd have to work part time on min wage to get the promise of gov't help. No thanks. We work with neighboring grocery stores helping with the food banks in town, and get to glean from that. Since moving, we havn't plugged back in, but we will soon. There are ways to share food, share leftovers, visit pot lucks. We never starve thanks be to the Lord!
    Today - I am thankful for so many clothes they are not all clean, so many dishes, they are not all clean, so much food that it goes to the compost and garbage, so much gas that we do not know where to go today, and so much time - to live our lives. Today, is a good day :)

  5. Pebblekeeper - Thanks for your lengthy comment; I love it! :D

    Isn't it great to have the perspective that helps us to make that shift from relying on other earthly people... to doing all we can for ourselves and relying on the Lord? And of course, there is interdependence, too, where we all help each other out!

    I also noticed from your comment another true principle in action; when you don't think the world owes you a living you feel a whole lot more THANKFUL for what you have. It isn't "poor me" it's "I'm so blessed!"

    Thank you... and, please come on by often! :D


There is a ripple effect in all that we do; what you do touches me, what I do touches you...

THANK YOU for your comments; you add so much insight and brighten my day! :)