While reading, my mind was wandering among to do lists, family and friends I should call to get in touch with, things I’m avoiding doing, housework I don’t want to do, when suddenly the words “Poverty Consciousness” jumped from the page. Growing up, my family seemed always on the edge of financial insolvency, a nice way to say that my parents had frequent conversations about bounced checks and which bills to pay and which to hold off on. Poverty was always in my conscious thoughts about money.
What I didn’t know is that we were rich in so many other ways. We were a good sized family of 7 with a house to live in. My mom and dad spent lots of time with us and involved us in their pastimes like art, music, and golf. We had lots of friends in the neighborhood and spent hours and hours playing in the streets and fields around our house. Everyday started with breakfast and ended with dinner, all around the kitchen table. We had riches others only dream of.
Today’s values seem to be based on what you can acquire, where you live, how much money you have. We don’t seem to value loving our families and friends, growing strong communities, taking care of the things we do have by maintaining and repairing them, and exploring and revering the world around us. Real poverty is found in the pursuit of “stuff.” Real wealth is found in being mindful of and giving to the people, things and world around us.