The Good Things in Life Are Often Taken for Granted Until They Are Gone . . .
Joey had a great lesson with Matthew about the French Revolution that went like this:
Matthew: I thought we would start our lesson on a lighter note, with one of the phrases/sayings Joey likes so much, and work our way towards the French Revolution. The phrase I chose is “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” I asked Joey is he had any thoughts on what that meant.
J: THERE ARE NOW TWO BIRDS IN THE BUSH WHO NEED TO COME OUT.
I reminded Joey that a lot of these phrases have existed for a very long time. This one probably dates back to when people actually had to hunt for their food. So, the bird that was “in the hand” was a sure thing, a reality, and the “two in the bush”, were possible, but not definite. So, a hunter who has shot one bird is better off than a hunter who can see two birds. In other words, when this phrase is used, you are reminding someone to be content with what they already have, and to be cautious of chasing after something that is uncertain.
J: THE HUNTER WHO SEES TWO BIRDS STILL CAN’T EAT YET. YOU KNOW THIS ONE IS LIKE THE “DUCKS IN A ROW.”
I asked Joey to explain what he meant by that, in his own words?
J: THE BIRDS IN THE BUSH HAVE NO MATERIALIZED YET THEY ARE STILL HIDING.
J: WONT WE TURN TO THE REVOLUTIONARY FRENCHMEN NOW?
Picking up where we left off…
Quickly reviewing, I reminded Joey that France had been slipping into financial trouble for quite some time, due to having to fund many wars (including the American Revolution), and over spending on the part of the various kings. An Estates General had been set up, consisting of the Three Estates (First Estate = clergy, Second Estate = nobility, Third Estate = everyone else), to handle financial issues such as taxes, but the last three kings had ignored this, and hadn’t actually called one into session.
By 1786, France was nearly bankrupt. Louis XVI proposed taxing the nobles and clergy in an attempt to raise money. The nobles were outraged.
J: THE MINTY NOBILITY DIDN’T WANT TO SHELL OUT THEIR DUCATS TO SAVE FRANCE.
Yes, and they insisted that any new taxes would have to be levied by an Estates General, representing the Three Estates. Louis did not want to call an Estates General into session, but in 1788 he finally concluded that he had no choice.
J: WONDERFUL LAWS CAME BACK TO BITE LOUIS IN THE REAR. THE STINGY NOBILITY BECAME REALLY WISE WHEN THEIR MONEY WAS ON THE LINE.
I asked Joey if he could recall why an Estates General had not been called in a while? I reminded him that if money was not a problem, there was not need to ask the nobility for it.
J: THE UNRULY KINGS HAD JUST SPENT WITHOUT FORMALLY BEING RESTRICTED. THERE WAS MONEY IN THE BANK SO THEY REALLY HIT IT UP.
I asked what, if any, were Joey’s predictions for how this would all turn out?
J: I THINK THAT THE CALCULATING NOBILITY CALLED THE KING’S BLUFF QUITE WELL AND THAT THE LISTENING CLERGY KICKED THE KING TO THE CURB.
Well, the Estates General was called and met at Versailles in May of 1789, and things did not go smoothly. Representatives from the First and Second Estates (clergy, nobility) treated the representatives of the Third Estate (commoners) as inferiors, and even forced them to enter the assembly room by using a different door. In turn, the representatives of the Third Estate resented this, and demanded a greater voice on the grounds that they represented the great majority of the French people.
I asked Joey if he could recount the unexpected turn of events?
J: THE RIGHTEOUS ESTATE WHO REPRESENTED THE MASSES WERE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BY THE SNOTTY FIRST AND SECOND ESTATES. THE THIRD ESTATE HAD EVERY RIGHT TO REVOLT AGAINST THESE BOZOS.
On June 17th, representatives of the Third Estate, joined by a few sympathetic nobles and clergy, left the palace and took over a nearby indoor tennis court, where, amid speeches and shouting, they declared themselves to be the National Assembly, a new assembly that would replace the Estates General.
J: YOU KNOW I AGREE WITH HOW THEY HANDLED IT. THEY SPOKE THROUGH POSITIVE ACTIONS AND FOLLOWED WHAT THEY THOUGHT WAS RIGHT.
And what was the product of their actions?
J: THEY DID ARGUE AMONGST THEMSELVES BUT THEY WERE ABLE TO WORK OUT THAT THEIR NEW NATIONAL ASSEMBLY WOULD BE THE ONLY WAY TO FORWARD AND THEY WOULD NO LONGER STAND FOR THE UNFAIR WAYS OF THE ESTATES GENERAL.
I then asked Joey what lesson he had learned, so far, from all of this business about the French Revolution?
J: THE LESSON THAT I TOOK AWAY FROM THIS STORY IS TO RESPECT OTHERS WHO YOU NEED IN YOUR CORNER WHEN THINGS GET TOUGH. THE GOOD THINGS IN LIFE ARE OFTEN TAKEN FOR GRANTED UNTIL THEY ARE GONE.
YOU KNOW I’M A REVOLUTIONARY OF SOMETHING TOO, I BREAK THE MOLD OF WHAT PEOPLE THINK OF
THOSE WITH AUTISM.