My daughter recently made a comment about one of her friend’s families, “they are so rich” she said. It surprised me a little because I know the family well, and while they might choose to spend their hard earned cash a little differently than we do, I am pretty sure that they are not any wealthier than us, if at all. So I was intrigued, what was it that my 12 year old daughter saw in our neighbours house that caused her to think they were so rich. “Why?” I asked her. “Well” she said “they have a TV in nearly every room, all the kids’ have one, they have one in the kitchen, one in the living room and there’s even one in the garage, and” she continued, “Joshua has a PS2 and an Xbox in his bedroom and Caitlin also has her own PS2, which she uses just to play sing star on”.
WOW, I was amazed, when did my daughter become so materialistic? Is it something she picked up from my wife and I? Or is it just they societal norm of our day and age to associate things with wealth. I certainly don’t remember teaching any of my kids that, but there it was, undeniably staring me in the face, the association of ‘things’ with wealth from my own flesh and blood. In my humble opinion the problem with today’s Western societies is that we are too rich. Most people would probably not agree, because they don’t enough TV’s but it seems to me that, we have gotten ourselves into a state where ‘enough is never enough’ and as far as I can see, our abundance of ‘things’ does not make us happy.
There are places in the world where being ‘rich’, means having water that you don’t have to walk two miles for, that you don’t have to boil before you drink and enough food to get you through the day. If we could be content with so little, then we could be content indeed.
Oh how things have changed in the last 30 years or so. I was brought up in Dublin, Ireland in the 70’s, hand me downs, holes in our shoes and third hand school books were the societal norms, everybody was at the same level of poverty and nobody ever bought anything that they could not pay for in hard cold cash. The official term ‘hire purchase’ became more common in the 70’s, the unofficial term was ‘the never never’ because it seemed that once someone bought something on hire purchase they never stopped paying for it. Of course the term today is credit. We are familiar with the words incredible and credible, but rarely do we associate them with good credit, bad credit or plastic cards, but they are one and the same word. If you have good credit then the loan company believes in you and if you have bad credit you are unbelievable and not in a good way.