Category Archives: Gratitude
Grumble, grumble, grumble . . . What a huge chunk of money disappears from my pay cheques. Mutter, mutter, mutter . . . What an inconvenience all these tax forms are.
True. All true. But I don’t have to go far to notice my tax dollars at work.
I watch out my front window as a garbage truck comes right to my door and picks up my garbage. Amazing. When I was a kid on the farm, we had to drive it to a dump.
When I drive to the store, I feel safe on our roads. They are well maintained in Canada. In the winter municipal workers paid by my tax dollars salt the roads and clear them of snow. I know the other drivers on the road have insurance; provincial government workers paid by my tax dollars monitor this. If I do happen to get hurt in an accident, the hospital that receives me won’t cause me to fall into financial ruin. My provincial health care system, paid for by tax dollars, protects me.
When I shower, the water flows away through a municipal water-sewer system.
My son heads to school. How lucky are we Canadians? Our kids receive education. A precious gift. (Read about how I learned to cherish education in my post “Transformative Moments”.)
Our tax-funded societal structures are so integrated into our lives, a day cannot pass without us taking advantage of at least one of them. We take them for granted. We pay for them because we want to build a progressive society. We pay because we want people to have access to clean water, education, and health care.
Now, I won’t shove aside or ignore the long history of tax resistance in our country and around the world. Taxes are not always so wonderful. Check out the long list of incidences of tax resistance on Wikipedia. Whoa. Clearly we need to be vigilant. But with checks and balances in place to ensure governments are good stewards of our money, what we end up with is a pool of money with which to administer large, complex systems that would be too large and complex to administer on an individual level.
No tax system or the government that runs it is perfect, but even with some wrinkles, tax money remains the most efficient way for a country to take care of its citizens.
One of the most celebrated happy taxpayers is J.K. Rowling. The British billionaire author received welfare payments in the past. She now willingly pays taxes to her government to help out her fellow citizens.
“When my life hit rock bottom, that safety net, threadbare though it had become under John Major’s Government, was there to break the fall.” —J.K. Rowling
At tax time we’re often so busy grumbling about what we disappears from us, we forget to celebrate what, so effortlessly, comes back our way.
Tax money disappears from us and then reappears in a different form.
The 16,000 enthusiastic kids at National We Day saw video excerpts from the famous “I have a dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. The speech is moving anytime, anywhere, but on a big screen in a big venue with big sound and a big audience, well, it was hair-raisingly powerful.
His son, Martin Luther King III, then took the stage to share lessons learned from his father. One lesson was: Do you want to be a thermostat or a thermometer?
Do you want to report on conditions around you, or do you want to regulate what happens? Do you want to do nothing more than sit back and observe, or do you want to take action to make things more comfortable for everyone?
National We Day: http://www.weday.com/2014/04/national-we-day-rocked/
Near the end of Orr: My Story, Bobby Orr lists some questions hockey prospects need to ask themselves before they pursue the elusive and improbable goal of becoming an NHL hockey player. When I read the questions first, I considered them in terms of hockey. But my son is a competitive baseball player, so I read them a second time from an “any competitive sport” perspective. Then I read them a third time as life questions that apply to everyone.
His questions touch on our willingness to take risks, persevere, make mature decisions, maintain self-confidence, accept responsibility and live with injustice. They don’t just apply to young people starting out; they apply to everyone, everywhere.
His original questions have a hockey slant. I paraphrase them to apply to life in general:
- Are you willing to move away from home? If your life dream requires you to leave safety and security and venture out on your own, could you do it?
- Are you prepared to work hard each and every day and always give your best effort no matter how those efforts are rewarded?
- Are you willing to pick up after yourself and your teammates, load and unload and do other physical work for the good of everyone?
- Are you prepared to get little recognition or be excluded from some projects early on because you’re the newest member of the team?
- Are you prepared to deal with bosses who are angry because your team lost or performed poorly? You may find yourself punished without any clear communication from the boss. This could make it appear you are the cause of the loss or poor performance. Are you prepared for that?
- Are you able to remain positive and work hard when you make a mistake?
- Are you prepared to move to another team with a new boss if circumstances change?
- Will you be able to disregard any negative remarks made toward you by co-workers or others?
- Will you have the courage to tell friends or co-workers that you are tired or have work to do if they want you to go to a party or for a beer when you know it’s not where you should be?
- Will you have the courage to say no to any form of drug offered to you?
- If a teammate or friend is doing something wrong, will you have the courage to tell them and to distance yourself from them?
- When you succeed, there will be people who resent your success. Will you be able to stay away from people who are jealous of you and want you to fail?
No matter how old we are or what job we do, we face questions and circumstances like these.
How we respond makes the difference between success and failure.