Me: I’m not sure I want to do a firm job. 12 hour days plus weekends. Sure the money’s great but I don’t want those hours.
Them: You know you can’t just think about yourself.
Them: It sounds nice but it won’t be you two forever. Don’t you want the best for your kids? Would you deprive them just because you don’t want to do the work?
The above was a recent conversation. They said it with such conviction that it threw me. Is she right? If I have the earning potential is it wrong to deprive the theoretical children of BMWs on their 16th birthday? The best designer jeans? Can my (note: theoretical) children be deprived simply because they might not be wearing Gucci with the latest Prada purses? I didn’t have those things but didn’t feel deprived.. maybe I don’t know what I’m missing? I looked at Maslow’s Hieracy of Needs for a little perspective.
Physiological: the need to breathe, eat, dispose of bodily waste, sleep, regulate the bodily temperature, protection from microbial aggressions (hygiene). We live in a country where practically any food you desire is just a matter of driving. an actual bathroom, a fridge and freezer to store food from bacteria, water regulated by governmental controls… heck WATER which so many thirst for at this moment… My children will have all this just because they were fortunate enough to be born in the land of plenty.
Security: Security of resources, Physical Security, Moral and physiological security, Familial security, Security of health. We live in a country with a police system that doesn’t function solely upon bribery, offers healthcare and free clinics.
Love/Belonging: Emotional relationships such as friendship,intimacy, and/or having a family. As the Beatles sang ” money can’t buy me love” ASH actually relayed a study that the happiest people on earth were in the poorest country’s of Africa… the saddest? In the wealthiest nations… As Gibran says: how can I lose faith in the justice of life, when the dreams of those who sleep upon feathers are not more beautiful than the dreams of those who sleep upon the earth?
Esteem Needs: respected, to self-respect and to respect others. I guess a Gucci bag and Prada shoes can do wonders for self esteem, but I’d like to give them self worth through sports, arts, and helping them nurture their talents. A partner in a law firm, and an impoverished family in Africa can help their child’s self esteem needs.
Self Actualization: They embrace the facts and realities of the world (including themselves) rather than denying or avoiding them, are spontaneous in ideas and actions, are creative, interested in solving problems, including the problems of others. Solving these problems is often a key focus in their lives, They feel a closeness to other people, and appreciate life They have a system of morality that fully internalized and independent of external authority, They judge others without prejudice, in a way that can be termed objective. Most of the world’s rich or poor have not yet acheived self actualization. I do believe that the offspring of Paris Hilton and my own have an equal chance to self actualize.
** NOTE:** based on a few comments I just need to clarify. I do not mean that its’ bad to have money or bad to be rich. Hey if I become the next JK Rowlings I will be thrilled. I also didn’t mean that we are poor or that I plan to just sit at home and twiddle my fingers once I finish my degree. This is not meant to be a cop out that money isn’t important and I won’t even bother pursuing making some. The point is that children can be fine with a normal income or an exorbitant income. To say that “oh my goodness my poor kids they are so deprived” when they have heat in the winter, ac in the summer, beds to sleep upon, doctors if needed, police just three digits away, free schools, loans, grants and scholarship opportunities, an abundance of food to the point that obesity is an issue in the US.. not starvation… to complain of deprivation is wrong. Before we look at those with more we should pause and look at those with less (i.e. the majority of our world) and thank God.