"People like getting what they think is free stuff from government." --John Stossel
**Warning: This post could be offensive if you believe in "free stuff".
Yesterday, I found myself at the ER with our youngest dumpling. She fell from a barstool the night before and hurt her elbow. I thought it would just stop hurting, but unfortunately, it didn't. So, yes, we spent our Thursday afternoon in the local emergency room, with kind and courteous X-ray technicians, and friendly nurses. After a brief wait, they explained that she had a contusion--that's medical terminology for a bruise (but I just feel so smart using the word)--and next week, she will need a follow up with an orthopedic doctor to make sure there are no issues with growth plates or a hair line fracture. Terrific. Great. Whew...but still phooey!! But trust me, I have a healthy perspective. This is really nothing. Not when compared to children facing and fighting cancer, diabetes or other chronic, possibly deadly diseases. Fractures and contusions I can handle. Thank you, sweet Jesus.
And as the day was ending and my husband and I were getting our little ones ready for bed, my husband inquired as to the cost of the day's hospital visit. I informed him that I hadn't been asked to pay anything because we have met our annual deductible and our insurance should cover us completely from here on out. My sweet husband's reply: "sweet!". However, our 7 year old son looked at me and asked, "Mommy, you mean it was free?"
My response was instantaneous. "No son, it was NOT free. Nothing in life is free. Your daddy works a second job with the Texas Army National Guard so that we can have Tricare Health insurance. Your daddy EARNS our healthcare insurance by serving our great state once a month and two weeks every summer. Son, everything in life has a price. You may be fortunate enough one day to receive something for "free", but rest assured, sweet boy, someone else paid for it." His big blue eyes met mine with a mixture of curiosity and exhaustion and as he looked from his father to me again, he simply said, "Okay, Mom. Thanks, Dad."
I know it will not surprise y'all at all, but this quick exchange got me to thinking. It would have been so easy, and even somewhat accurate for me to simply say, "yes, son, it was free." But that isn't the reality and it doesn't do our children any favors if we give them false expectations or misrepresented information. No, I didn't launch off into an in depth explanation of how taxpayers fund our military and their benefits. I didn't explain to my 7 year old that since Daddy and I pay taxes, we are in fact, paying a portion of our benefits--therefore, essentially providing a public service for a very reduced price. No, I didn't rant to my child. But one day I will. One day I will begin teaching both of our children about the beauty of capitalism and the fairness of the free market. I will teach them about taxation and welfare, about entitlements and entrepreneurship. One day, I will explain that in this life you are one of two things: a giver or a taker. And hopefully, because of their inner ambition and their agreement with our guidance, they will choose wisely.