…today’s secret… How to Ruin a Country.

John Steinbeck wrote:

“Then there is the kind of Christmas with presents piled high, the gifts of guilty parents as bribes because they have nothing else to give. The wrappings are ripped off and the presents are thrown down and at the end the child says – ‘Is that all?’ Well it seems to me that America now is like that second kind of Christmas. Having too many THINGS they spend time on the couch searching for a soul. A strange species we are. We can stand anything God and Nature can throw at us save only plenty. If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much and I would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy and sick.”

Recently I volunteered at a local organization who helps people have better tomorrows. Financial assistance. Food stamps. Work related training. Individual counseling. Etc.

I volunteered to teach some of their participants American history by entertaining them with American history stories. No problem. Can do it in my sleep. They like it. I like it. Learning history is good.

I have a 4′ x 4′ map of the United States that lays flat on the table with the participants circling it. I keep it rolled up in my office with a rubber band wrapped around it. That is until I need to roll it out on the table and put some weight in each of the four corners to hold it flat while we talk cool history stuff.

Last week I unrolled it and walked to the bookshelf to get some books to hold the four corners down. When I returned four of the participants had laid their cell phones on each of the four corners.

I couldn’t help but think of Steinbeck’s words.