From the monthly archives:

January 2013

Not taken for granted

by lulujane on January 30, 2013

10abcToday my sister had a prescription for a knee brace, hopefully to remedy the ongoing pain caused by osteo arthritis.  As I sat in the store watching, waiting for her to be fitted, I listened to other customers whose first questions were `how much is it` and `am I covered`. (Punctuation here is an ongoing problem for me as there is a glitch in the program, so forgive lack of question marks or correct punctuation.)

I live in a city in which  many individuals and families, sometimes generations of families, have been employed and supported by the auto industry, in some instances from cradle to grave.  Unions have fought strongly for benefit packages for their members.  Even although I was always a salaried employee, working for an employer not connected with the auto industry, my wages and benefits were influenced by comparison with what was earned in the auto sector.  Because of that I have retired with a generous benefit package; a comfortable pension, prescription drugs for a thirty-five cent co-pay, ongoing dental coverage, etc.  Even although my employer is paying for it, I have no hesitation in acknowledging that were it not for the union demands and sacrifices over the years I would not have this.

Back to the fitting shop experience today, within the period of a couple of hours my sister had a prescription from her doctor (thanks to free medical care), was fitted for an appliance, and walked out the door pain free, at no financial cost to her for the $790 brace that she wore out the door.

I often wonder how many of us really appreciate this.  A few years ago when I was in Florida I overheard someone say `they must be Canadian….  they want everything for free`.  Is that what we have become…. a nation of  people whose expectation is one of entitlement that they shouldn`t have to pay for anything.  I hope not!

My belief is that a business similar to the one we visited today wouldn`t function or be as  profitable in another community away from the production lines that nudge the cars and vans out in rapid succession. My sense is that the great majority of people in our province, in our country must go without because they don`t have have the good fortune that we have.

On occasion I have written letters to my former employer expressing gratitude for the benefits I enjoy, which serve to provide me with financial peace of mind in my day-to-day life.  That might sound goofy to some people but to me, it is important that I not take gifts, blessings or benefits for granted.  It is important for me to not only feel grateful, but to express it.

In good conscience, how could I not