I received a call from a girl in Ireland. She has a been a friend for over 10 years and was coming back to the States for the first time in about 8 years. She wanted to know if my family was willing to meet for dinner at her parent’s house. I told her it should be no problem, since I was off on that day, December 23.
Roughly two weeks after that call, my schedule at work changed. I mentioned to my supervisor that I had plans for the 23rd. She said it would be no problem, seeing that it wasn’t my fault that the schedule changed. After another two weeks, on the 18th, my supervisor came up to me and said there was no way she could give me that day off. If she did it for me, she would have to do it for everyone else.
This announcement was disappointing. For the next two hours, it was the only thing on my mind while working. It wasn’t shocking, because this was the norm for my supervisor. By the time I made it home that evening, I was already over it. I delivered the news to my wife, and as expected, she was very upset. She wanted me to start calling everybody and anybody that could help me. We had made plans and were given the okay to follow through with them. This was injustice! But in my mind, it was over. In my mind, I already knew. This was my fault.
“The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor.” –Proverbs 12:24 (NKJV)
This proverb is telling me that not getting that day off is my fault. All the other perceived injustices by my employer(s) over the years, they are really my fault. I work at the pleasure of my employer. If I want to provide for my family, I have to work. I don’t make the rules. I cannot come and go as I please. My master gives me a badge and tells me when to come and when to go, when to clock in and when to clock out, when to work, rest, eat, and even use the restroom. If I want money to survive, I follow the rules. If I want to live just a little bit better than my peers, I have two options. I work harder and smarter for my current master with the hopes of being able to move up, or I find a new master.
How did I get myself into this modern age of forced labor? I put myself there. I didn’t do the right things when I was younger. Instead, I just did what seemed the normal things. I got a job and worked hard at it. I kept working that job until another opportunity came up that seemed too good to turn down. I tried to go to school to continue my education, but life always seemed to get in the way. I just kept telling myself to keep plugging away. Things will get better. They will get easier. The money will get better. I will get a raise next year. In five years, I will be making quite a bit more. Just keep going, working for the master. This is not living. This is existing.
If you don’t want to be made to do forced labor when you are older, then start now, even at five years old. You learn to be diligent. Be diligent in your studies. Be diligent in your extra-curricular activities. That child-like wonder that sparks your curiosity, feed it. Find out why things work the way they do. If you don’t know, then we can find out together or find someone that does know. Do the things that interest you. Do the things that make you smarter, stronger, and better. And whatever you do, do it diligently. It will be the difference between ruling over your own self, or giving that rule to someone else and being made to do forced labor.
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