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mike Meehan

Counting Blessings

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Seeing recent programs about the poor sods who lived and died in the trenches during WWI, and then the others who became prisoners of the Japanese during WWII has made me think.

 

Mine is a very fortunate generation.

 

I was born 6 weeks premature weighing 3lbs - if I had been born in an earlier stage of history I would not have survived.

 

About 5 years of age I cut my knee on a broken milk bottle and caught septicaemia by that time penicillin had been invited and was in wide spread use, otherwise there would have been strong chance of having a leg amputated or even death.

 

About 33 years of age I had a burst appendix - 50 years earlier the chances of surviving this were problematic.

 

More recently I was diagnosed with prostate cancer but have received intensive radio therapy treatment which must have cost a fortune and the prognosis is good, so I have been kept alive by the wonders of modern science.

 

Going further back in history our forbears had an average life expectancy in their 40's and very often the men folk had to fight in wars.

 

Going back to the Middle Ages some 30% of the population died from the plague. 

 

In the first half of the 20th century people generally worked a 5 and a half day week and before that in 19th century it was often 6 days a week, 12 hours a day for just enough money to be able to provide food, more or less.

 

My wife and I are now retired and able to live fairly comfortably in our own house which is paid for - we don't have any debts and for about 3 months of the year we are able to go to France.

 

We have two children who have grown up well with three grand children who are showing promise.

 

We have a car, moderately good health and I am even taking up gliding again.

 

During my earlier years I heard a lot of first hand reports of how earlier generations suffered through two world wars and the depression, then look at how people live in earlier generations and have come to the conclusion that my generation must be the luckiest generation in history. We are old enough to have had some experience of the older ways but now we have the advantage of living in an age of great technological development.

 

Sometimes some people appear bitter and twisted but they should stop and think, consider how preceding generations lived, not only that consider how others in different parts of the world live, consider that we live in a country where but for all its faults, it allows us to live a life of relative freedom and free from absolute poverty and when you look at it from that point of view you should see that we are part of the privileged few, so sometimes it does us all good to count our blessings.

 

I

Edited by mike Meehan

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Seeing recent programs about the poor sods who lived and died in the trenches during WWI, and then the others who became prisoners of the Japanese during WWII has made me think. Mine is a very fortunate generation. I was born 6 weeks premature weighing 3lbs - if I had been born in an earlier stage of history I would not have survived. About 5 years of age I cut my knee on a broken milk bottle and caught septicaemia by that time penicillin had been invited and was in wide spread use, otherwise there would have been strong chance of having a leg amputated or even death. About 33 years of age I had a burst appendix - 50 years earlier the chances of surviving this were problematic. More recently I was diagnosed with prostate cancer but have received intensive radio therapy treatment which must have cost a fortune and the prognosis is good, so I have been kept alive by the wonders of modern science. Going further back in history our forbears had an average life expectancy in their 40's and very often the men folk had to fight in wars. Going back to the Middle Ages some 30% of the population died from the plague.  In the first half of the 20th century people generally worked a 5 and a half day week and before that in 19th century it was often 6 days a week, 12 hours a day for just enough money to be able to provide food, more or less. My wife and I are now retired and able to live fairly comfortably in our own house which is paid for - we don't have any debts and for about 3 months of the year we are able to go to France. We have two children who have grown up well with three grand children who are showing promise. We have a car, moderately good health and I am even taking up gliding again. During my earlier years I heard a lot of first hand reports of how earlier generations suffered through two world wars and the depression, then look at how people live in earlier generations and have come to the conclusion that my generation must be the luckiest generation in history. We are old enough to have had some experience of the older ways but now we have the advantage of living in an age of great technological development. Sometimes some people appear bitter and twisted but they should stop and think, consider how preceding generations lived, not only that consider how others in different parts of the world live, consider that we live in a country where but for all its faults, it allows us to live a life of relative freedom and free from absolute poverty and when you look at it from that point of view you should see that we are part of the privileged few, so sometimes it does us all good to count our blessings. I

Totally totally agree with you.That's why i get fed up with people constantly moaning about the state of this country etc, when seriously compared to many countries in the world and generations gone by we have it easy and live in comparative luxury. There is not many people in the UK that live in true desperate poverty, otherwise referred to as absolute poverty, definition below:-A condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information.I am happy to be alive on this wonderful beautiful planet. So many things to see and do, and i feel very privileged to have seen what i have seen.

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I have very mixed feelings on "count your blessings", for I've had a lot of experience of trying to speak out about humanitarian concerns, or others being unreasonable, with the aim of improving things (rather than complaining for the sake of complaining) and being dismissed with, "The injustices that you are flagging up are trivial compared with those suffered by the starving children in Africa, so the onus, like it or not, is on you to just grin and bear it, stop getting worked up over nothing, and be thankful for how lucky you are."  The biggest problem with "count your blessings" is that it can be misused to encourage complacency and keeping the status quo locked firmly in place instead of trying to make things better than they currently are.  But of course apart from that, there are many good uses to it, as it can encourage positive thinking and an appreciation of the good things in life.

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One could write an awful lot about this and of course compared to the 19th century we are vastly better off. But for some reason,despite the great advances in medical science and people living far longer the image that springs into my mind is one of  thousands living out their lives lonely and abandoned in god's waiting rooms. And is society any happier than it was sixty years ago?

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It's an interesting question, we are better off but are we any happier as a result of it?  I can imagine that I, personally, would have been unhappier in the 1950s because I am a very poor fit for the "traditional family values" of that time and would most likely have suffered greater problems with being marginalised as a result.  But there are many modern-day stresses associated with a fast pace of life, becoming detached from nature and everything revolving around money, and issues like women facing conflicting social pressures re. whether or not to have children and whether or not to stay in work if they have them.

 

I have no problem with people who complain for the sake of it and get depressed being told, "Count your blessings", it's when people promote positive change and get dismissed with, "Count your blessings", that it is problematic and Triple_x1 gave some specific examples of this above.

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A recent news story i think summed things up accordingly - two vulnerable looking minors were effectively dumped within a busy shopping arcade, seemingly left out on their own. It was if course only an experiment and carefully orchestrated as such, all caught on camera too.Dozens of folk happily wandered by, not even taking the opportunity, no matter how brief, to actually question their well being or status? Eventually (after some time..) the cycle was broken by one concerned individual, perhaps she could see slightly beyond the end of her nose...and thank goodness for that.

 

I think that's taken slightly out of context. It wasn't that many wandered happily by but, in the case of the men, they were wary of approaching two young girls given today's climate. Unless of course the point you are making is the the fact that we have created a climate of fear ..

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"That's why i get fed up with people constantly moaning about the state of this country etc, when seriously compared to many countries in the world and generations gone by we have it easy and live in comparative luxury. There is not many people in the UK that live in true desperate poverty, otherwise referred to as absolute poverty.."Didn't many previous generations directly help in so many ways, or as you've stated, by making things comparatively easier today? And if not, who did exactly?Your gripe that some folk moan defeats the object somewhat, I'm pretty sure that if the very same generations gone sat back and did nothing, without collectively seeking to improve things - maybe we wouldn't be where we are today.Suppose you could ignore the world's ills, pretend they don't even exist and carry on regardless. Focus on yourself and not bat an eyelid. Countries where absolute poverty exists will be thankful, their natural resources will continue to get plundered, the sweat shops producing higher end goods keep churning out their wares, food banks continue to grow, homelessness increases to name a few.A recent news story i think summed things up accordingly - two vulnerable looking minors were effectively dumped within a busy shopping arcade, seemingly left out on their own. It was if course only an experiment and carefully orchestrated as such, all caught on camera too.Dozens of folk happily wandered by, not even taking the opportunity, no matter how brief, to actually question their well being or status? Eventually (after some time..) the cycle was broken by one concerned individual, perhaps she could see slightly beyond the end of her nose...and thank goodness for that.

YES WE KNOW THERE ARE FAULTS WITH THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!LOL This is a thread about despite all the faults wrong with the world and this country we should really count our blessing. And here you are trying to bring everyone down to your miserable level LOLWhy not try focusing on the positives rather than the negatives all the time.Any one would think that where you are concerned it is a crime to be happy and content.

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A caller rang into Radio 2 this afternoon and moaned about that the nice new shiny car they had just brought was now covered in Saharan dust. This was described by the host as a "First world problem". Bet they do really count there blessings.

Edited by No Balls Like Snow Balls

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Here's one example of "Count your blessings" that I would see as positive:

 

A.  Drat, I have to get up at 8am for work, and de-frost my car, and my watch has broken, gawd, what a life!

B.  Count your blessings.  You have a job that you quite enjoy and that gives decent pay, and have a short commute.  Many others have jobs that they hate doing and have to get up at 6am for.  A broken watch can easily be replaced at minimal cost.  Yes, your problems are inconvenient, but they're hardly the disaster that you're making them out to be- think positive, the positives in your life strongly outweigh those negatives.

 

And a bad one, illustrating how "count your blessings" can be used to justify not bothering to address injustices:

 

I.  A bully is trying to isolate me from my friends and I would like support with the bullying.

B.  Well, you're not going to get any, you just have to accept, that's life, people isolate each other from their friends, it happens.   Friendships are short-term anyway, so it's not a big deal- think positive, at least you've got your family, for family is what's important.  Think of the homosexuals who get disowned by their families when they admit to being gay, and the people who lose their families in tragic accidents, and you'll realise how trivial your predicament is.  Also, instead of seeing the cumulative effects of the persistent bullying, think positive, take each incident in isolation at face value, and realise that it isn't worth getting worked up over.  As in Monty Python's Life of Brian, "Always look on the bright side of life!  De doo, de doo de doo de doo!"

 

The point is, I agree to some extent with what both sides of the argument are saying.  The problem in this country is that we tend to be bad at thinking positive but also bad at being pro-active at changing things for the better.  Maybe it's because I am a believer in positive change, but when I am told to count my blessings it is more often in relation to cases like the second one, rather than the first.

Edited by Thundery wintry showers

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