Took a family vacation to Yellowstone last summer. After a day of exploring the spectacular park, we ate dinner at Canyon Village, a sprawling commercial development in the mist of the natural wonders. The kids wanted some souvenirs so we stopped in the gift shop before eating. The clerk at check-out was a kid, no more than 20, as was most of the customer service staff in the park. His name tag said Mal-Chin, and under his name was his country of origin: Korea.
Seated inside the restaurant we were served water by Jianyu, his country of origin: China.
We were served rolls by Mi-Cha, Korea again.
Earlier in the day, when visiting the geyser, Old Faithful, we stopped in the mini-mart at Yellowstone Lodge. The check-out guy was Yeo, China again. At breakfast, at the restaurant in the lodge, our waitress was Fedheeta, country of origin: India.
Our waitress at dinner was Kathy, her country of origin: USA. She was probably 1 of 10 Americans out of the 50 or more employees of the park I saw that day.
Yellowstone is the United State’s first national park. Over 2 million acres of pristine, protected wilderness resides in a massive cauldron of a dormant super-volcano in the states of Montana and Idaho, with the majority of the park in Wyoming. The USA preserved this land for families and fans of natural beauty to come explore, discover and study natures wonders for present and future generations. Tens of millions of taxpayer dollars goes to maintaining Yellowstone National Park annually.
So why are most of their service staff from everywhere but the USA? I asked our waitress, Kathy, at dinner in Canyon Village. Why are our kids not landing these jobs, which provide a great opportunity to acquire sales and communications skills, add to college applications…etc?
The American kids get fired here constantly, Kathy told my family after taking our order. They party a lot, get drunk, don’t show up for work, and are rude to the customers. They write the orders wrong, or charge people the wrong amount because they can’t do simple math quickly. The management can’t keep them for more than a few weeks into the summer because they’re mostly irresponsible and lazy.
Her words literally hurt me, because I knew they were the truth.
Kathy went on to describe the programs that land the out-of-country kids the jobs at our national parks. They pay thousands just to get here, she said, which is generally less than the salary for six days of work a week, including the food and lodging during their contract with the park. They clearly want to be here very badly, usually to acquire work skills and develop their English fluency, and they do an excellent job. It’s easy to see why management prefers them.
World News Tonight on ABC used to have a segment they called Made in America. It was a joke, an embarrassment to any sensible, educated, aware adult who knows that China produces over 1/3 of all global manufacturing, with Mexico and Korea close behind them. The World News segment was touchy-feely, saccharin and all smiles with David Muir interviewing American manufactures of unique hats and scarves, or a cupcake maker gone viral, and then touted these businesses as being the cornerstones of our future success. This segment is no longer produced.
Hats and cupcakes won’t cure our supply-chain issues. The USA is not, and will never reclaim its manufacturing base when we charge in excess of ten times as much to do the work other nations are willing to do, and do well, for so much less.
The internet has united our world, as it gives most everyone the opportunity to see how others live. It’s easy to find the American lifestyle attractive. Our families generally have warm houses with running water, electricity for light, computers, entertainment systems, cars in almost every garage, freedom from religious and/or political persecution (sort of). Most countries still aspire to be US, to model our independence and luxuries.
Watch World News Tonight’s entire broadcast, and David Muir will tell you all about rising inflation, families charging groceries and gas just to get to work and feed their families, maxing out their credit limits. He’ll tell you about our personal debt crisis, where the average American has over $15,000 in credit card debt, and he’ll introduce you to one of the many families bankrupted from a medical catastrophe not cover by their insurance or Medicare.
This decline in the American lifestyle will continue for most U.S. citizens, and eventually even the 1% wealthy will be effected, guaranteed, if we stay the course we are on.
Like it or not, we are a global world now. Today’s manufacturing, trade and technology bind us, and gives us the opportunity to thrive as a people, a planet; or we can destroy everything we have here, through our laziness and greed.
Our K-12 public education system is failing our kids, regardless that we keep pumping more and more tax dollars into education. U.S. now ranks 36th out of the 79 countries and regions in math, behind China, South Korea, even Canada. It is no wonder U.S. kids aren’t hired for even the simplest retail positions at our national parks. Our kids are unprepared to compete globally. And according to our server, Kathy, at Yellowstone, who went to a private school back home in New York, the American employees clearly demonstrated their lack of education in their reading, writing, and math skills, in addition to their poor interpersonal skills with customers.
Cutting school hours of instruction with “teacher furlough days,” short days, and extending ‘teacher work days’ has not, does not, and will not produce a nation of creators. It takes education, practice, and focused persistence to produce anything of value. For the U.S. to achieve the potential our parent’s achieved—have jobs, and retain the lifestyle to which most of the middle-class has become accustomed, we’re going to have to limit our play/relax time, and work a hell of a lot harder.
Partying, with attitude, instead of doing their work, like the stream of U.S. kids fired from Yellowstone; playing Halo, or killing endless hours on TikTok or SnapChat, or binge watching Netflix instead of studying math and science won’t help our kids compete in the job market locally or globally. H1B visas requested by Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other tech companies reached a whopping 308,613 H-1B registrations for 2022, a 12.5% rise over 2021.
Greed, laziness, the-world-owes-me work ethic so many Americans possess won’t win us jobs, or help us keep them here in the States. We must teach our kids that PRACTICE is the only way to get good at anything. This means investing the time and energy into academics instead of iPhones, social media and video games, which means parents need to pay more attention and invoke more discipline. It means educators need to step up to the plate and give more homework, harder tests, teach longer hours for the same money because giving more money to education shows little improvement in student performance.
We are a nation of [mostly] Christian believers, but if Jesus really saves, he’d better start saving our kids, because it sure as hell isn’t our education system, and clearly most parents aren’t doing any better. Raising a generation of spoiled, unmotivated, under-educated Americans can not, does not, and WILL NOT compete in our global economy.