The Value Of Meaningful Work
For nine years during the decade of the '60's I worked at Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, Lower Pottsgrove .While working there I met so many self made men that I wondered what was the key to their character ? When I engaged them in conversations I pressed them to explain how their former years were spent. Most were veterans of WW11 and attributed their character to the regiment of being in the military, the act of leaving home when still young, and their realization that there is value in a chain of command system .
War was not all that formed character . The older ones, some too old to serve in the war, told a similar tale of early development . These fellows were from families caught up in the Depression with little or no family income and no jobs in sight. They also left home at an early age and entered into a paramilitary style organization, the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps, a works program for young men
aged 18 to 25 .
Their tales about life in the CCC were compelling . Newly away from home and family they bunked in log type cabins erected by earlier crews of Corps workers led by men trained in carpentry and construction . The newly arrived came with few skills, though at that time in our country most young men came from a stable family whose need was a livable income . It was the mandate of the Corps to take untrained young men and give them a job needing little prior experience.These jobs were mostly involved in work at public parks, in our public land's forests, and along our meagerly developed highway system .
Three square meals a day, a regiment of sleep time, work time, break time, all in a semi-relaxed supervisory atmosphere that gave these men structure in their daily life. They each received a small allowance with the rest of their wages being sent home to the struggling families there . Each to a man felt their work while in the CCC was spent for a greater good, for the good of the country, as sort of, for a noble cause. Each expressed a feeling that their lives turned out much better for them having spent time in the CCC and had no regrets for their service time .
Today the young, both males and females, need similar structure in their lives which their fathers and grandfathers lived two generations prior which dramatically changed their lives for the better. Of course the question remains : Could the government today create a 21'st Century equivalent to the CCC of earlier times? After that question is answered, a larger question begs an answer, should our government reinstitute the CCC today ?
If you answer, Yes, to these questions you join me in my way of thinking . It seems we must move away from a cowboy mentality of : arrogant independence, gun on hip, open range to ride, dumb heifers (people) to herd, deserving mine and taking it, the Hell with you, I got mine .
Let's press Washington to institute a 21'st Century CCC that will give the young adults among us an alternative to a wasted start without meaningful work at home, without a personal structure governing daily activities, without some sense of order and supervision, and without a goal of common interest, namely, for the good of the whole, for the good of the country, for the good of the planet, and mainly for the good of the self .
Ronald C. Downie