John Stossel: Who has true grit anymore?
Compare yourself to the man on the $20 bill: Andrew Jackson, our seventh President.
During the Revolutionary War, Jackson volunteered to fight. He was just 13 years old at the time. The British captured him and made him a servant for British officers. When one ordered Jackson to clean his boots, Jackson refused, and the officer slashed Jackson’s hand with a sword. When Jackson became President, he showed off the scar.
Do your kids have that much grit today? I doubt it. Parents now try to protect kids from all danger. In New York City, some won’t let teenagers go to school by themselves.
Lenore Skenazy, author of “Free-Range Kids,” thinks that’s absurd.
Once she allowed her own 9-year-old to ride the subway alone. After she wrote about that, she was labeled “World’s Worst Mom.” Really. Google “world’s worst mom.” Skenazy’s name comes up.
Our country’s founders left relatively safe places to tough it out in the wilderness, to turn what a character in a John Wayne movie called “empty land used for nothin’” into ranches and farms. Doing that required long days spent hunting, plowing, fighting off enemies, digging in through cold winters, sometimes starving, losing children, losing wives and husbands — it took grit to create American civilization.
As John Wayne’s character himself put it in “The Big Trail”: “We’re building a nation. We’ve got to suffer. No great trail was ever blazed without hardship. That’s life.”
Cartoonist Charles Schulz had every cartoon he submitted to his high school yearbook rejected. “Peanuts” later became one of the most successful cartoons of all time.
It’s great that we live in a wealthy country — one with a welfare state so big that we now worry about poor people getting fat. But what makes most people happy is not comfort. It’s earned success, success you struggle for.
That’s the stuff of life — and the route to happiness and prosperity.
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