My father employed ritual to teach me an important lesson in civics and citizen responsibility. On April 15 every year, he made certain that I understood what was going on in the country.
While I don't remember all of the techniques he used, I do recall being present at the crucial moment when he made out his check to the Internal Revenue Service. I can still see him at the kitchen table or at his small desk in our living room pulling out his checkbook and carefully filling in the blanks.
Then came the short speech that went something like this every year: "Son, we should be grateful that we have the ability to pay taxes. I never begrudge what I pay back to our country. We are blessed to be here and we're lucky to have a life like we enjoy."
That was it.
He never overdid anything.
To the point.
Honest and clear.
Today, in my very different world with much lower tax rates, I file my return electronically.
But, I remember and I smile.
I miss my dad.
I'm thankful for what he taught me.
And I'm most grateful for this country.
And yes, I had to write a check. Proud and thankful that I could.
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Larry James' Urban Daily
A repository of ideas, resources, commentary and opinions concerning the issues facing low-income residents of the inner cities of the United States and how mainstream America largely forgets or, worse, ignores the day-to-day realities of urban life for the so-called "poor." Written and edited by the President & CEO of CitySquare. Please visit CitySquare.
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