Our relationship with money….
Minutes ago, I was reading a news article about a California couple that has been living with their young children in a box-like structure, composed of plywood, for four years, in the California desert. They lived without electricity and running water. The couple has been arrested on suspicion of cruelty to their children. Living in an “unsuitable environment” was deemed as an act cruelty. Doesn’t cruelty involve an underlying intention harm? Were these parents purposefully harming their children?
My thoughts? Society should not arrest people because they are poor!
Without a doubt, if the adults in this story had more financial resources, they would choose to live in better conditions. I do not know this family, or what led them to where they are now but it is clear that they have held together as a family. It is likely that once the adults are jailed, the children will end up in a foster care system. These parents may have to jump hurdles in order to get their children back.
What do you think?
On moral grounds, do you think these parents deserve to have their children taken away? Do you think the children are better off in a foster care system? It makes more common sense that if society cares, the system should provide temporary housing for the family, versus sending parents to jail. The children have gone through enough hardship… and now the system is taking away the only family know.
The “system” is not an ogre. It’s intentions are not evil. So how can people be jailed for not being able to afford something… in this case, accommodation? Are we judging this family for not having it together? Are we easily accepting the jail solution because they are poor? Is there a part of us that is taking the high ground, thinking that they deserve to have their children taken away since they cannot financially support them?
Many people in other parts of the world cannot afford accommodation that has electricity or running water. They cannot afford plywood! They build houses out of mud, or straw! And yes, sometimes we do turn our eyes away from these images too.
What would be life-changing for many people, would be to spend a week, two weeks, living in a remote “poor” village, living as “the natives” do. Yes, it will make any person appreciate the material things they have, and the conveniences they take for granted. But a person may also discover how rich life is, even while having so little! The focus turns away from material stuff, to simply appreciating the other bouquet that the Universe has laid out for everyone… the sunrise, the sunset, the smell of the earth, surrounding vegetation, the air we breathe, people and community!
I will likely come back to this topic over and over again… our relationship with money. It touches all of us. We as humanity , seem to show a lack of compassion and understanding because of material stuff. Our values are upside-down. With our values skewed, we are not grounded, but get lost… especially among the stuff that we value too much. What is your relationship with money? I can hear many saying “well I don’t have enough of it!”. But beyond the jokes… how do you think money has made you just a little less human?