Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

The Work Ethic, Pass It on. (Editor's Column)

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

The Work Ethic, Pass It on. (Editor's Column)

Article excerpt

INCLUDED IN THE COVER STORY this month is a small but telling slice of American history. On the surface it relates how a midsize family-owned bank came to be. Beneath the surface it carries some very interesting messages for what America was, and what it has become.

The article relates how five brothers were raised in rural Bristow, Okla. One of the five was the father of Albert C. "Kell" Kelly, who is profiled in the cover story (p. 27). As Executive Editor Steve Cocheo wrote in the piece, "The family emphasis was on work, the hard work of a growing farm and a commercial cotton gin, among other things, with little time for play." The article goes on to say that the boys were allowed to adopt the runts of sows' litters, nourish them to health, and eventually sell them for cash. Unremarkable, perhaps, but think of the lessons about care, enterprise, and possibly even the pangs of separation from something cared for that the boys learned.

Now consider where we are today. A huge part of our national economy is supported by consumer spending, of which a large and growing portion is accounted for by leisure pursuits. We indulge our youth with endless streams of entertainment to the point that they come to expect and demand more and new entertainments continually, a habit which often carries into adulthood.

The desire of people to want something better for their children is understandable. Yet wasn't it the overcoming of hardships or the making do with less that often strengthened the resolve and character of the parents? It would be harsh to arbitrarily impose hardships on a child, of course, but there is a difference between that and encouraging discipline, effort, and responsibility. …

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