Thursday, November 10, 2011

"Do you have a lot of money?"

Since Thanksgiving is only two weeks from today (I'm sorry, what?!), I wanted to share a little story with y'all in the spirit of thankfulness...

Last night, my Intercambio class took a field trip to the grocery store to do a little scavenger hunt. For one part of the lesson, each student was supposed to buy an apple, and then we were going to talk about how much change everyone got, etc. Some of the students had missed the last class and didn't know we were going to the store, so to make things easier, I decided I would just give everyone a few dollars to buy their apple. I gave each person $2, we got in line to pay for the apples, and everyone's ended up being about $.60 each. After we talked about the amount of change each person got back all the students tried giving me back the extra dollar and the change, but I told them all they could just keep it. They seemed surprised and were all very thankful. When we were walking out to the car, one of the students asked me "Do you have a lot of money?"

The question kind of caught me off guard, and I wasn't sure how to answer.

I think I responded with something like "Not really, but I'm thankful that you all came to class, and I'm proud of how well you're all doing." Due to the language barrier, I don't really know much about my students or the backgrounds that they come from. I know they all hold a variety of different jobs, and sometimes their work schedules prevent them from coming to class. The majority of them have children and their ages range, however, they all signed up for this class to help improve their English skills and I really admire them for that. I am really proud of the progress they've made so far, and I'm glad that I decided to teach this class.

But this story is not about me or what a great person I am for giving away a few dollars.

It was really my student's question that I kept thinking about on the way home and later last night, did I have a lot of money? As I said, my initial reaction would be no. I'm currently working two part-time jobs, and I feel like Cam and I are always busy traveling, going out to dinner with friends, and it seems that things to spend our money on always come up. So sometimes we feel like we don't have as much money as we'd like. We'd like to travel more, go out to dinner more, and buy more things.

Do we have a lot of money?

The more I thought about this question, the more I realized that my frame of reference is extremely skewed. I thought back to a few days earlier when Cam and I went to the grocery store and filled up our cart full of food. I thought of the satisfaction I feel after it's all put away and I know that we have healthy food to eat for the upcoming week. I thought about all the little things I do with out thinking-filling up my car with gas, turning on the heat in our apartment, filling up my water bottle with clean water-and I realized just how rich we really are.

When you think about people who have "a lot of money," I think of celebrities and billionaires. Do I have as much money as Kim Kardashian? No. Do I have as much money as some people I went to college with? No. I feel like the media, Facebook, and even blogging can put you in this negative comparison trap where you think that just because you don't have as much money as someone else, you're poor. And just because other people are going out and buying expensive things doesn't necessarily mean they have the money for it either. When you look at the rest of the world, you realize how absurd our perception of what "a lot of money" means...this pretty much sums it up:

So do I have a lot of money? Yes. Yes, I do.

I am extremely blessed and very thankful for the life that I have. When I start to feel like maybe I don't have "enough" money to buy all the "things" that I want, I just need to take one look at those statistics and I'm reminded that I already more than I could ever need.

I hope that you're all having a fabulous Thursday, the weekend is almost here! Xoxo

3 comments:

  1. Great post! It is so easy to forget how fortunate we are. Even in the midst of a tragedy, we are so obsessed with what we don't have, we forget that we are so fortunate and blessed to have everything that we do.

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  2. wow this a a great reminder! Thank you for opening my eyes!

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  3. i like your post. When people use the word "poor" to describe anything in the US, I remember a trip i took to Huatulco, Mexico. When we were driving through the mountains, there were people living in those mountains that didn't have running water. Not because they can't afford to pay for running water, because Mexico didn't offer it in that region. As I travel to the orphanage in Rwanda, I'm sure I will see other comparisons and remind myself that I will probably never know the feeling of poverty.

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Your sweet words make my day! :)

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