The Problem With The American Dream

Sunday, November 28, 2021 4:18:14 AM

The Problem With The American Dream



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American life expectancy varies by up to 20 years depending on the zip code of residence. Quality of education also differs widely depending on the wealth of the neighborhood that families reside in. One of the reasons for lower US mobility is that the ladder of opportunity has become much harder to climb — because the rungs of the ladder have grown further apart. This is evidenced by the rising levels of income and wealth inequality. This difference is far greater than in the European Union or the United Kingdom.

Wealth inequality is even more skewed. The United States has traditionally viewed economic success and failure as the result of individual effort. Rugged individualism and self-reliance have been defining qualities of the American character. On the other hand, our European neighbors are much more likely to attribute poverty to structural factors such as social class or the lack of jobs. As a result, other OECD countries are much more willing to invest in a robust social welfare state designed to help ameliorate some of these structural inequities. In addition, the United States has frequently viewed poverty and inequities through the lens of race and ethnicity.

Instead, help them walk through the problem-solving steps. Offer guidance when they need assistance, but encourage them to solve problems on their own. If they are unable to come up with a solution, step in and help them think of some. But don't automatically tell them what to do. When you encounter behavioral issues, use a problem-solving approach. Sit down together and say, "You've been having difficulty getting your homework done lately.

Let's problem-solve this together. If they forgot to pack their soccer cleats for practice, ask, "What can we do to make sure this doesn't happen again? Kids often develop creative solutions. So they might say, "I'll write a note and stick it on my door so I'll remember to pack them before I leave," or "I'll pack my bag the night before and I'll keep a checklist to remind me what needs to go in my bag. Provide plenty of praise when your child practices their problem-solving skills. Natural consequences may also teach problem-solving skills. So when it's appropriate, allow your child to face the natural consequences of their action. For example, let your teenager spend all of their money during the first 10 minutes you're at an amusement park if that's what they want.

Then, let them go for the rest of the day without any spending money. This can lead to a discussion about problem-solving to help them make a better choice next time. Consider these natural consequences as a teachable moment to help work together on problem-solving. Get diet and wellness tips to help your kids stay healthy and happy. Social problem-solving among adolescents treated for depression. Behav Res Ther. Instructional support predicts childrens task avoidance in kindergarten. The second is for Equality of Opportunity , and the price for that is Competition. If everyone has an equal chance for success, then we have to compete. The third is for The American Dream , the opportunity for a better life and a higher standard of living.

The price for the American Dream has traditionally been Hard Work. The relationship among these values—the rights and the responsibilities—creates the fabric of the American society. It is this fabric that defines the American Dream—the belief that if people take responsibility for their lives and work hard, they will have the individual freedom to pursue their personal goals and a good opportunity to compete for success. It is important to note that these six values are cultural values and not moral values, or even personal ones.

They are the foundation of our democratic nation. Rooted in the beliefs and visions of our Founding Fathers and reinforced by historical experience, these cultural values are what distinguishes our country from all others. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. The Declaration of Independence With immigrants arriving from all over the world with vastly different cultural traditions, values, and customs, what holds the country together?

We are defined by the rights we have. Our rights are our history, why the first European settlers came here and why millions more have come here since. The system of basic American values emerged in the late s and began to define the American character in a nation that has always consisted of people from many different countries. By the time the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States in the s, he was able to see these American values in action. Almost years later, his book Democracy in America is still cited as one of the most insightful and definitive descriptions of American values. In order to have these benefits, however, they had to take care of themselves, compete with others, and work hard to fashion a new life. In time, their experiences led to the development of the core American cultural values that still shape America today.

This system of values consists of three pairs of benefits—individual freedom, equality of opportunity and material wealth or the American Dream —and the price people paid to have these benefits—self-reliance, competition, and hard work:. These three pairs of values have determined the unique culture of the United States and its people. Another way of thinking about these basic values involves rights and responsibilities. Americans believe that people have the right to individual freedom, equality of opportunity, and the promise of material success, but these all require substantial responsibility: self-reliance, a willingness to compete, and hard work.

The earliest settlers came to the North American continent to establish colonies that were free from the controls that existed in European societies. They wanted to escape the controls placed on many aspects of their lives by kings and governments, priests and churches, noblemen and aristocrats. To a great extent, they succeeded. In , the British colonial settlers declared their independence from England and established a new nation, the United States of America. In so doing, they defied the king of England and declared that the power to govern would lie in the hands of the people. They were now free from the power of the kings. In , when they wrote the Constitution for their new nation, they separated church and state so that there would never be a government-supported church.

This greatly limited the power of the church. Also, in writing the Constitution they expressly forbade titles of nobility to ensure that an aristocratic society would not develop. There would be no ruling class of noblemen in the new nation. The historic decisions made by those first settlers have had a profound effect on the shaping of the American character. By limiting the power of the government and the churches and eliminating a formal aristocracy, the early settlers created a climate of freedom where the emphasis was on the individual. The United States came to be associated in their minds with the concept of individual freedom.

This is probably the most basic of all the American values. Scholars and outside observers often call this value individualism, but many Americans use the word freedom. It is one of the most respected and popular words in the United States today. By freedom, Americans mean the desire and the right of all individuals to control their own destiny without outside interference from the government, a ruling noble class, the church, or any other organized authority. The desire to be free of controls was a basic value of the new nation in , and it has continued to attract immigrants to this country.

There is, however, a cost for this benefit of individual freedom: self-reliance. Individuals must learn to rely on themselves or risk losing freedom. They must take responsibility for themselves. Traditionally, this has meant achieving both financial and emotional independence from their parents as early as possible, usually by age eighteen or twenty-one. They owe nothing to any man, they expect nothing from any man; they acquire the habit of always considering themselves as standing alone, and they are apt to4 imagine that their whole destiny is in their own hands.

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