Dear readers:  I would like to share with you a very special and thoughtful essay written by a friend of mine some time ago. Her words are timeless, and speak volumes.

MONEY versus LOVE

Lord, Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do laundry and spend a few precious minutes with her children.

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can’t make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.  Encourage him to learn to make change without a calculator.  That way, no one else will be able to cheat him when he buys something with cash.

Remind us that the scary-looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day may be a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmare.

Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slowly through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year they will go shopping together.

Remind us each day that of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share love with those we hold dear.  Open our hearts to all humanity.  Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.

Help us remember to be grateful for who we are and what we’ve been given.
I think it’s sad, however, that some mothers today are still, or have become single; that some young people are barely able to read, write, spell or make correct change by calculating in their heads; that addictions either aren’t recognized or, if recognized, aren’t addressed, and that the elderly are often consigned to poverty, both physical and spiritual.

Where is the rich, full, abundant life that some people seem to have? WHO DEFINES RICH, ANYWAY?   Is it more money than one actually needs?  Does ‘RICH’ mean having lots of friendships, a lot of material possessions, OR can it mean being rich in love and goodness, doing right to others and for one’s family and one’s self?

People who read may have noted an AP release some months back that revealed studies indicate that today’s young people have one priority and goal uppermost in mind: To accumulate wealth!!

In polls taken, a few young people indicated that they wanted to serve others, find cures for diseases and otherwise search for ways to address the physical and emotional problems being suffered by mankind. But most young folks said that they wanted to have ‘lots of money’ when they become adults.  (Indeed, how many high school and college graduates have you heard say that they expect their first job to pay 50 to 60 thousand dollars a year? Is that an unrealistic dream? Probably.)

What intrigues me even more are the forces that trigger that kind of goal.  Do the young folks polled come from poverty-stricken, single-parent, broken homes where struggling to find enough decent food to eat is an everyday goal?  Or do the youth polled come from cash-rich families who’ve instilled in them the greed for more money with which to enjoy a lifestyle that’s a cut above others around them?

Or could it be the fear of annihilation in this world of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction?  Some of our young people have seen the very real horrors of destruction. Others have seen it on television. Yet others experience it emotionally via video games. Is the fear that they aren’t going to be allowed to live – perhaps even to adulthood –partly responsible for some young people’s desire for a lot of money?   Some of our most unfortunate children realize their dads can’t protect them or their mothers – especially the children who live in single parent homes.  Most young people already know that law enforcement officials can’t protect them.  After all, police don’t come until after something bad has happened.

It seems, then, that the challenge for today’s adults – especially parents – is not only to teach their children the values that are worth experiencing and sharing, but also living those values daily in front of their children. Those are the values of love, joy, peace, faith, gentleness, humbleness, patience, self-control and kindness; and the values of courage, fortitude, generosity, honesty, respect, responsibility, and wisdom.

Here in the United States, a number of young people have yet to be exposed to these values on a day-by-day basis.  It’s the daily consistency that makes these values become wonderfully habitual.  Yet others already live some of them, thanks to parents and grandparents who’ve deliberately take the time and made the effort to teach their young people good and right ways to live.  These young folks will soon mature physically into adults capable of making their own choices – choices that will most definitely impact their elders.

Will these choices include having babies out of wedlock and, therefore become exhausted, impoverished, single parents?  Will they include spending more money on tattoos and body piercings than money saved for college? Will it mean giving in to ‘something’ over and over, until a habit becomes a full-blown addiction?  Will those choices result in poor health in old age?

I don’t have the answers.  (If I did I’d probably apply them a lot better to myself!)  But I think these answers and, perhaps even better solutions to human problems are available to us mere mortals.

I believe that a rich, full, abundant life is available to just about anyone who really wants it and chooses to seek it. Rich in love and well-doing, full of good health and abundant with solid, wise choices. I believe there IS hope.  We Americans really must learn how to overcome the poverty and emptiness in our lives so that our young people can realize there are more – and more important goals worth reaching – than vast amounts of money.

Essay written by Margaret Figert
(friend of Paula Vogelgesang, author of the ‘Pennywise’ column)
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
As I mentioned above, that essay spoke volumes – Margaret is a very wise lady!         
‘Til Next Month,
–Paula

 

 “Life was simpler back when anyone who could tie a square knot could repair a clothes dryer!”
– quote from A.C., California