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Today's word on journalism

May 8, 2009

The Last WORD

The Fat Lady Sings, Off-Key, Drools

At about this time every year, like the swallows to Capistrano or the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio, the WORD migrates to its summer musing grounds at the sanitarium —St. Mumbles Home for the Terminally Verbose.

The reason is clear, and never moreso than as this season —the WORD's 13th —peters out.

It's been a fraught year of high palaver and eye-popping transition, both good and not-so-much. An interminable presidential campaign saga finally did end, and in extraordinary and historic fashion. Meanwhile, the bottom and everything that's below the bottom fell out of the economy, with families, homes, entire industries and —of particular interest to WORDsters and the civic-minded —dozens of daily newspapers ("I don't so much mind that newspapers are dying--it's watching them commit suicide that pisses me off." --Molly Ivins). . . all evaporating. What replaces them, from the individual to the institutional to the societal? Are we looking at a future of in-depth Tweeting?

As any newsperson or firehorse knows, it's hard to turn your back on day-to-day catastrophe --we just have to look at the car wreck. But even the most deranged and driven need a rest. As philosopher Lilly Tomlin once observed, "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."

So this morning, as a near-frost hovered over northern Utah, the unmarked van pulled into the driveway and the gentle, soft-spoken men in the white coats rolled the WORD out of bed and into a straitjacket for the usual summer trip to St. Mumbles, where the blathering one will be assigned a hammock and fed soothing, healthy foods --like tapioca, dog biscuits and salmon --while recharging the essential muscles of cynicism, outrage, sarcasm, social engagement and high-mindedness, in preparation for the next edition.
Summer well, friends.

Speak up! Comment on the WORD at


Feedback and suggestions--printable and otherwise--always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Has today’s generation lost its work ethic?

By Jake Ipson

Waking up early to do chores, running home on a lunch break to do more chores, only to come home after school to do even more chores. Imagine kids doing that today, running home just do get the chores done. That was the life that Ardean Bench had when he was growing up. He learned from an early age what work was and what a good work ethic that life required.

Has today’s generation lost good work ethic? Are kids not brought up working hard, or are they just lazy?

Ardean Bench was born in 1928 in Salina, Utah. The middle child of nine, he remembers the great depression. He says that his family raised their own garden, killed their own meat and made their own clothes, so they never went without. He says the househis family lived in was small and had a partially dug-out basement that the boys would sleep in.

When his father got a job in Orem, Utah, the house his family moved into was not big enough for the entire family. So some had to sleep outside in a tent. Bench stayed behind in Salina on a farm with his uncle. He said he had 20 heada of Jersey cows that he had to milk twice a day and run home during his lunch break to feed them. Though the farm was about a mile away from his school, he was hardly ever late returning to school and on those occasions that he was late, his teachers would understand why.

On weekends and during the summer months, he would help out the other farmers as much as he could and earned 25 cents an hour, making a $2.50 a day.

“I was taught and have always believed that a person should give an “honest day’s work” for whatever the agreed salary was for an “honest day’s pay.” Bench said. “If a person is able to work and does nothing they should not receive anything. There is no justice in taking money from those who work and earn money and then to take a portion of it and give it to those who refuse to work. If a person is truly unable to work then I believe that they should be cared for by those who are able to do so.”

After serving amission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he came home and cashed in War Bonds he purchased before he left. He got a total of $75 dollars for which he began his schooling at BYU. He later transferred to up to Rexburg, Idaho, where he finished his degree.

After completing his schooling, he had planned to teach biology and sociology but was offered a teaching position with the LDS church teaching seminary. When asked if the students changed throughout his teaching tenure, he remembers there was a distinct change in attitude and behavior in his students. He remembers the kids were much more teachable and they would accept an assignment and they would just do it.

He said as time passed, the students not only got lazier, they felt the need to be entertained in the classroom and the responsibility of an assignment was something terrible. He felt that the attitude changed to a lack of respect for teachers, administrators and their parents.

“We were actually told that if rudeness, crudeness, and lewdness offended you, teaching may not be for you,” said Bench.

In Bridging the (Generation) Gap By Gloria Plaisted at, she says that the technology has a lot to do with the way kids are acting these days. Kids are able to communicate at such high speeds they sometimes have a hard time showing enthusiasm when at work. They feel they need to be at a job where the company provides a fun atmosphere. However, they also seem to work harder when around their friends as though they have to compete with them. She stated that in this generation of kids, they may seem to be lazy and slow workers, but they are the ones who will be there to fix your computer if you have a system malfunction.

Sampson Lee Blair of Arizona State University conducted a study with children and their involvement with household work. He found that children between the ages of 6 and 12 do about 12 percent of the household work. He found that kids whose parents both worked 40 hours a week do the most chores around the house. Children who have a stay at home parent tend to do more chores than those who don't.

“As I look around the houses of children today, I find piles of clothes all over, clutter, things everywhere. There is too much TV, video games, I-pods, texting, etc. & etc. Now there is even an epidemic of 'sex-ting' on cell phones. Parents are far too often a 'friend' rather than a parent. Oh, you can’t hurt your kid’s feelings; they may never recover from it. There are a great many young people who do not have good ethics as they prepare for their futures. This is evident by the corruption in our major businesses. Some do have good work ethics. However, look at the rise in gangs, lawlessness, drug and moral problems.” said Bench.

“If parents would truly be parents, there would be hope for the young people, but many parents are derelict in their duties. When over 50 percent of marriages fail and more children are born out of wedlock than in, what can happen except things get worse? When our government subsidizes unwed teens, what can we expect but things getting worse?” said Bench.

According to the National Restaurant Association 44 percent of 16 to 19 year olds were employed in 2006. That is 10 percent lower than 10 years ago and 20 percent lower than when their parents were teenagers. Plaisted said the flexibility of kid’s schedules these days also play a big part in not working. She thinks parents put a lot of pressure on their kids to stay active in school and other activities and also want them to earn their own money. For this reason parents will intervene with their kid’s employment a lot more than they used to.

“All of my children have good work ethics. All are completely honest in their lives and wouldn’t cheat, steal or take advantage of anyone. I do believe the youth of today are very lazy. Part of this is because the majority of children do not have “chores” to do or even know the meaning of responsibility. As a group, they have to be “entertained”. They seem to need to have that thrill, or be a high. The parents are supporting them into adulthood and in many cases beyond,” said Bench.

“I believe that if young people would learn to be self reliant, develop a positive attitude about life and take responsibility for themselves that there would be a great improvement. We have a God given power within us to do good and we, they, all of us need to be engaged in a good cause rather than spend so much valuable time doing things just to take up time and be entertained. Young people as well as older people just need to get with it,” said Bench.



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