Why is it that the groups who bear the most financial stress and hardship are families and the elderly?
Aren't these our two most precious Human assets? Our children, the America of tomorrow, the apples of our eyes. We all hold children dear, whether they are our own or someone else's. Even if we have no children, we know they are special, they need our support and protection through the most important developmental years. And our parents, those who raised us, supported us, nurtured us, and taught us. Senior citizens are our living repository of practical experience and wisdom.
But, how are these groups treated by society?
At least 65% of American children live in households with an almost unbearable amount of financial tension and stress. They have to do without things, like new clothes, really healthy whole foods, medical insurance, and worst of all, their parents' attention because parents must work long, draining hours just to provide food and shelter for their families. We can only hope parents don't get hurt or sick, because their little children could be out on the street before they know it!
Many retired people are having to face a harsh reality. After being told they must work a job for 40 years, to provide for their old age, they are now finding that there is no security in old age, no matter how hard they've worked or how long they've stayed with a particular company. Forced early retirement, bankrupt pension plans, social security benefits that aren't enough to live on, and sky high medical costs make old age even more treacherous than famlihood, because it's much harder for retirees to find decent work due to the limitations of age and also, age discrimination.
This is not right and something must be done about it immediately!
We get a lot of lip service from government and corporations about how they care. They care about children. They care about families. They care about senior citizens. But, do they really? Based on results, children, families and seniors can only say, "Yeah, right!"
Look at our politicians, hard at work in Washington making sure that the richest 10% of Americans get tax breaks, giving juicy government contracts to their fat cat buddies and trying to enforce an ideology that has no place in a government devoted to the separation of church and state. They have slashed, crippled or mismanaged every social program designed to help families and senior citizens. They don't have any plans to address the health care crisis in America because their pharmaceutical buddies really like things the way they are. Even victims of overwhelming natural disaster don't seem to rate timely government assistance. Our government today seems to be sending a very clear message, "If you don't have money, you're on your own."
Corporations smile at us through media and public relations agents while, behind the scenes, they downsize or mismanage pension plans. "Oops! Sorry. There's just no money left for you." But, the corporate managers have all been paid, and in many cases, each one has been paid enough to sustain 5 families or more! Is it really necessary to have such a disparity between executive and worker salaries? Who works harder?
Whatever our purpose in life, I KNOW we were not created to spend our lives consumed with working and worrying about money. No religion on Earth preaches that making money is the most important thing in life. Rather, they try to impress on us how important people and relationships are. It is love, fostered through correct action that makes life worth living. This is a spiritual concept that transcends religion, because people from every religion would agree, people are more important than money.
So, how did we end up with a system like this?
Lack is a very powerful and motivating condition. Many who have come from meager beginnings never want to endure it ever again. Many who have money are so afraid of losing it that they will go to any lengths to keep it all for themselves. It really does amount to fear, whether you have money or not. That is how this money based state of affairs arises and that is how it stays in effect.
What can we do about it?
I know. This system has been around for so long that it's hard imagine life any other way, but that is exactly where we must start. Try it now. Can you imagine what life would be like for you if you weren't worried about money? What would you do? Where would you live? What would your home be like, your clothes? What would your stress level be like? You'd be far more relaxed. Go on, imagine it now. Take a deep breath and let it out feeling as if you didn't have a financial care in the world.
Now imagine what other people would be like if they didn't have to worry about money. They'd be less rude. They'd smile more. You'd hear less yelling amidst your neighbors or even from your own family. Children would be raised by people who could actually focus on them for more time everyday, which means the adults of tomorrow would be calmer. They'd have fewer "issues" and hang-ups because they would grow up feeling they were the most important thing in their parents' lives, fostering greater self esteem.
This is only the first step, but it's very important. Our focus determines our reality. Thoughts become things. If you can't imagine a better world, you'll never realize it. We need everyone's participation here.
Act with compassion and integrity
I'll never understand why people with wealth don't seem grateful to the people who made it happen. Behind every million dollar corporation, there are thousands of employees and customers, without whom there would be no business. Those who have wealth, have it by the grace of all. No one can make money all by themselves and if you don't believe me, try going into a room alone (with no money press, phone, fax or Internet ready computer) and see just how much money you can make without anyone else.
Every person in America is rich compared to others around the world. Be grateful for it. Those who can afford to give to others without starving, should! Tithing has even been shown to be one of the fastest way to wealth. Give 10% of your income to others freely and it will come back to you many times over.
I can't say enough how important it is to pay close attention to politics on every level. I know, it's boring, but I am shocked at how far removed our current administration is from the common man. How did it happen? It didn't happen over night. The very politicians in office today have long shown their stripes of greed and corruption, but people voted for them anyway! They certainly have lots of friends and very slick public faces, but anyone who bothered to look at their records could have seen this situation coming before these guys were elected to more important offices.
Acting on the recommendations of others (be they teachers, parents, priests, co-workers, whatever,) may seem much easier that researching candidates for yourself, but look where it's gotten us. We must take our responsibilities to choose our leaders and vote much more seriously.