Saturday, June 17, 2006

Wealth - it's all in how you measure it

On a friend's blog she recently wrote something and referred to herself as wealthy. The next day she wrote another note offering an explanation of why she wrote that, worried that some might misunderstand. She lives with her family in a suburb neighboring ours, and certainly would not be on Robin Leach's list to film for his show (neither would we!) But I agree with her - her family, and mine, are indeed wealthy.

A few years ago (ok, it was closer to a decade, wow time flies fast) another good friend was telling me the story of how her oldest came home from kindergarten (or maybe it was first grade) and asked if their family was rich. I have never forgotten the answer she gave him. She asked him what he thought it means to be poor. He responded with "you don't have food or toys or maybe even a house." She then asked him if he had all those things. He didn't hesitate before replying in the affirmative. She then said to him, "See, my son, we are rich. We have a home to keep us warm and dry. We have plenty of food to eat. We have toys to play with. We are rich, indeed."

When you look at the American popular definition of wealth, then no, we don't fit that mold. But when you compare our lifestyle with that of the majority of people in the world, we are so rich it's distressing. Why do we need so much when so many have so little? And why do we continue to want for so much more when we waste so many of the resources we have been given?

This morning I read an article about Brangelina (I admit to being terrifically curious about that whole situation) and it ended with a note that Angelina gives one-third of all her income to charity. ONE-THIRD. Can you even IMAGINE what the world would be like if everyone who is in her income bracket, the TRULY wealthy, followed suit?!?!?!? Heck, let them just give one-fourth.

Which reminds me, I wanted to write about Bill Gates' retirement and future plans. But it will have to wait as my boys are home from camp and want to share their experiences with me.


Mark and Carla said...

Ok, I want to comment but I'm so tired! But it's such a great topic!

Churches set 10% tithing as a goal and some require it as a condition to membership... imagine if even every churchgoer did THAT!

I admit to overkill on the Brad and Angelina thing and I puke on their extramarital whatevers...
but I do admire their silence in the face of all this attention. They don't run around pointing at themselves ala Tom Cruise. They really probably can't stop the attention they get.

And I do admire her decision to try to be more informed and use her celebrity status for something more than free gifts and a good table at a restaurant. I'm not sure she's at Bono's level yet...but she's young.

And don't even get me started on Bill Gates and his amazing foundation and his great wife. Wow.

Calandria said...

Actually Robin Leach called about filming our home last month, but I just had SO much GOING ON, you know darling. I told him maybe when things wind down...

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