Friday, June 15, 2012

Materialism in America

Our kids came to us with nothing. Absolutely nothing but they clothes on their backs. No keepsakes, no change of clothes, no pictures, no toys. They had lived with next to nothing for as long as they could remember. Now they have everything the need and much of what they want. The only way that I can think to understand what this might be like for them is with this analogy.

Imagine that tomorrow you are told that Donald Trump has chosen to adopt you as one of his own children. The assumption is made that this is something you want and overnight you are flown to New York City. You have never seen a private plane before so you jump up and down at the sight of the airplane sent just for you. And you have never eaten caviar before so you turn your nose up at it not wanting to even taste the expensive luxury.

You arrive and are picked up at the airport but you show no appreciation for the fact that Donald Trump himself made the time to come in person because you don't understand how valuable his time is and the sacrifice he made to be there. When you arrive at his penthouse, you are given a room but you had assumed you would have a suite with a separate living room and a balcony on which to enjoy some fabulous view of the city. Your disappointment is obvious when you realize that it is simply a very large bedroom with an adjoining bathroom. And while the furnishings are lavish, they are not to your taste and so you ask to redecorate.

You start to wonder if it is okay to ask for a car. Maybe a Mercedes CL? Would a Bentley be asking too much? And what you don't know is that there is an entire collection of ultra luxury cars down below in the parking garage and you can pick any that you can use at any time without even asking. It was just assumed that you would know such a thing.

You wear the same shoes all week because they are just so beautiful. You even wear them in your room and around the house for fear that the housekeeper might remove them for some reason. You don't know why she might do such a thing but so many things around you are beyond your understanding and, well, they're your favorite. Finally someone speaks up and explains that those shoes aren't suitable for this occasion.

You use your towels one time and then throw them on the floor, expecting someone to come pick up after you. You are told that while the staff will come clean your room once a week, you are expected to keep your room tidy and pick up after yourself. You are completely indignant. Even though you scrubbed your own toilet just 2 weeks ago, you feel like this request is completely unreasonable.

Dinner tends to be food that you aren't used to and you really crave a basic hamburger and your favorite beer in the bottle. So you ask for a custom dinner to be prepared for you, not realizing that the meals are planned out weeks in advance by one of the finest chefs in town and that you are appearing altogether ungrateful by asking for a hamburger when you are being presented with the finest steak that money can buy along with a 100 year old bottle of wine which you are entirely clueless as to how to enjoy.

You see bars of soap being thrown away after they start to lose their decorative shape. They are scented just slightly in the most delicate way. So you sneak around collecting them. You don't know what you are going to do with them but you know in your heart that such a lovely thing should not go to waste.

A big party is coming up. You are instructed to pick a dress from a selection that is delivered to your room. But you thought that something like this would merit a couture original. You become convinced that the other Trump kids have all of their clothing designed personally. Clearly this is a sign that you aren't a real member of the family. As a result you act bent out of shape for days. No one else knows why.

Are our kids grateful for the things they have? Yes... and no... But what kid is?

1 comment:

  1. This so so beautifully written. I thought so originally and re-reading it this morning reminds me all over again how beautifully written it is.


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