Determination & Problem Solving
Resolve, as a noun, is defined as determination. As a verb, the word “resolve” means to find a solution to a problem or determine a course of action. This word is especially fitting for the Greatest Generation as they both had resolve and resolved many problems.
They were fighters. Nothing stopped them. If there was a natural disaster, they fought back. If illness or fire struck, they weren’t going to let it stop them. After all, they lived through the Great Depression and World War II. They knew what it meant to struggle against adversity, to lose loved ones, and to feel real threats to their way of life.
They had resolve to survive, to live free, and to improve the world. Nothing was going to stop them.
In order to survive and thrive, the Greatest Generation became excellent problem solvers. It was already in their blood. Pioneers and settlers across the country had, for years, been handed problem after problem to solve. They didn’t waste time blaming others for their problems. Likewise, they didn’t wait for politicians, ministers, or community members to solve their problems. Instead, they made decisions and took action to resolve the problems they encountered.
Helping Each Other
People didn’t, however, do it all on their own. When tragedy struck, the community jumped in to help those in need. If a barn burnt, they helped the family raise a new one. Similarly, if a family member fell ill or was hurt, neighbors pitched in providing meals, help around the farm, a place to stay or whatever was needed.
In return, that family would help other families in need. They worked together to collectively survive. In general, people participated as much as they could to help others.
As a child, I remember my dad pitching in to help store hay when a neighbor was injured, the men coming together to fight fires, women making food for neighbors, and people sitting up with someone who was sick or hospitalized. Yet, there was an expectation in that generation to take care of yourself. Fight for your own survival. Help from neighbors and family was just icing on the cake.
Today, things have changed. People don’t seem to have the same type of resolve that they did even fifty years ago. Today people are very determined in some regards, but many people take survival for granted. It seems that some people feel they should be guaranteed survival or that laws should prevent every possible negative outcome in life.
Likewise, many people seem to lack problem-solving skills of the Greatest Generation. In many cases, people would really like someone else (e.g. the government) to provide them solutions. This can be the result of lack of experience with problem-solving, laziness, or learned helplessness.
How Did We Get Here?
Resolve didn’t change over night. It was a slow process. Modern medicine was an inadvertent contributor as doctors learned how to “save” people from so many injuries and diseases. Likewise, as schools grew larger and more structure was created around consistency of the education, students got left behind. In some cases people lost their problem-solving ability and others failed so often that they knew nothing else.
Along those lines, the government also contributed. Programs that intended to help people, sometimes taught them to rely on others instead of working with their community to survive. Of course, it does not help that much of the community support has been lost over the years. When you have no support, it is harder to build problem-solving skills. Thus, it is more challenging to be self-reliant.
In the next article, we will discuss personal responsibility and how that interplays with resolve.