Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What is all this coming to?

We have become a consumer economy.  That's not news to anyone.  But we've also become a culture that is lazy and not productive.  We are no longer a nation that builds and innovates.  As individuals, do we produce more than we consume?  Most of us do not.

Instead, we have a youngest generation spending all important moments texting each other.  While their parents are certain it's a great move to buy a house with no down payment and no money in the bank.  And their parent are to a large extent going to have a very hard time retiring.

Okay, so I sound a little angry.  But I have beautiful little grandchildren who deserve living in a world with opportunity and prosperity.  Here is just a few things I'm trying to teach them about the world: 

(1)  You can't have everything you want.  Sorry, none of us do.  And it is okay.  You have a whole long life getting things, making things, building the life you want. 
(2)  You are responsible for yourself.  You don't have a "right" to a new cell phone or a car or a vacation or a job.  You have a responsibility to others; work to do.  The world may reward you for living up to your responsibilities. See point (3)
(3)  The world isn't fair.  As an employer, I get to educate adults about this sometimes.  Yes, we try to create a equitable and rewarding workplace.  But sometimes, it just isn't fair and the better you are at dealing with it, but better you'll come out of that.  If you've ever separated children fighting over toys, hopefully you know that "sharing" is not enough.  Sometime you just have to get a long, figure it out, and deal with it.
(4) Be the best you can.  That's almost always enough.  Every day, get up, get ready, eat breakfast and go out there doing whatever you do with the best attitude and the most effort as you can.  It will pay off over all, but not every day.  See point (3).


  1. Did you see the article in the New York Times? http://tinyhouseblog.com/apartment-living/but-will-it-make-you-happy-tammy-in-the-nyt/

    It made me realize even though I think of my life as pretty pared down, I could still simplify and take more time to savor the experience. I think that's why I like blogging. It makes me examine the experience. The article also looks at a study showing the happiest people are the ones who have the strongest relationships with others. Makes me glad I've got good people in my life and that I don't waste my time and effort on material goods.

  2. Actually I did see that article. Owning more does not make you happy. That's clear. Mature people make conscious and deliberate decisions about managing the resources that go through their hands. It is that process that supports a rewarding and satisfying life.

  3. LeAnn,

    I really appreciate your thoughtful comment about my “Hunger is not pretty” column. I’m now posting three days a week on Facebook, and would love to have you as a fan. Here’s the link:


    Ron Cooper