It's just not right that a person who works and pays tax, earns less than someone on unemployment benefits. This anomaly was highlighted recently in the Daily Mail when 50 jobs remained unfilled in Worcester where unemployment is high. One potential applicant didn't bother to apply because the government paid him more not to work.
The benefits debate is gathering real momentum in the UK. Should the unemployed do something in return for taxpayer's support? Surely the answer is yes. But if governments condition our unemployed to expect money for nothing, then the result is obvious. There is no incentive to find a job. Any smart person will take money for nothing.
Unemployed people need to be reminded that they are valued, useful and are needed. Everyone is good at something and everyone can contribute. Policymakers need to create the opportunities - not animosity or vacuous promises. Initiatives don't count unless they are delivered. Surely a sense of responsibility needs to be imbued well before young people become unemployed.
Forget the politics, good old fashioned hard work and enthusiasm leads to financial reward, satisfaction and high self esteem. It's the law of karma.
Prince Charles, a great role model for the young, has announced a new scheme called Step Up To Serve which is a call to arms to inspire our youth many of whom are unemployed. Brilliant in principle, but will it be adequately funded to create a meaningful difference to the underlying issue which is really the government's problem to solve? Also, do we ever stop to think that our young people cannot always be blamed for their lack of education and the environment in which they grow up which influences their attitude to work?
Work is Worship
Work ethic alongside education should be gently introduced at a very young age.
I grew up in a family where we were taught that extra pocket money required something in return. My father was self employed, so we were given mundane tasks like stuffing envelopes from a young age and had holiday jobs. This conditioning helped me to realise that with hard work everything was possible - effort and sacrifice puts food on the table. If on the other hand, I had grown up with 'work shy' parents, the odds are that I would have followed that pattern instead.
Getting the best out of young people is also a middle class problem. It's too easy for young adults to ride on the backs of their hardworking parents expecting continued hand outs without breaking sweat. Parents naturally want to help their children, but 'free' money is never as valuable as money earned after a hard day's work.
Some will say that it's not easy for a young person to get a holiday job. Well that just isn't so. Take Christina, a hairdresser from Glasgow. She has raised her son Jack on her own whilst running a business. Her work ethic has rubbed off on him - at just 13 and has shown a talent for cooking. Jack is now being trained by a top chef at weekends who has taken him under his wing because he wants to learn, works hard and displays a good attitude. Surely these are the key ingredients to success. Can you imagine how great a chef he is going to be by the age of 21?
Yoga Could Be The Answer
Yoga is a practical science which can be applied to our lives. It is not just sitting cross-legged chanting OM.
There are three main paths of yoga which prevail in our daily activities: -
Karma yoga: The Path of Action - through our actions we can be useful to society in our work;
Jnani yoga: The Path of Wisdom - as we learn and experience more, we become wiser and
Bhakti yoga: The Path of Devotion - through serving and caring, our love, acceptance and tolerance increases for others.
Meanwhile mudras, which are normally represented by symbolic hand gestures, have great significance in daily life also. Many who practise yoga put the forefinger to the thumb but few know the significance. It means bending the ego with humility and surrender. Both governments and the unemployed need to be humble and support each other.
Those who don't work, demonstrate another type of mudra with the flat palm facing upwards. This mudra can represent a plea for help and not just money. Then there is the mudra of putting two hands together, normally when welcoming someone, which signifies the symbol of unity. In this context the government should be signalling togetherness with the unemployed - we will help you but you need to help yourselves by helping others.
Policymakers need to be mindful of the unemployed by introducing properly funded schemes and education while showing proper respect to the employed.
Values need to be instilled and nurtured by example and not force fed. Future generations will then never expect something for nothing again.
David Green is an experienced practitioner of Kriya Yoga and is the author of a new book, The Invisible Hand: Business, Success & Spirituality, which shows that material success and spiritual success are bound together. www.the-invisiblehand.com