Americans have a love affair with money. They covet it, they're rarely satisfied with the amount they have and more than a few are willing to commit crimes to obtain it. Big crimes; Bernie Madoff, are you listening?
A former flame once told me the best dream he ever had was when he dreamt he was surrounded by money, stacks of it, suitcases full of it. He said he woke with the most delicious feeling--a better-than-sex feeling. His speech quickened and he grew more animated as he related the joy the bundle of bills transferred to him. It was a highpoint in his life, but it was not real. I moved on.
I made a conscious effort to raise my children with compassion for others. It gave me deep satisfaction to see my small son never pass the Salvation Army bell ringers without dropping some change from his dollar allowance in the kettle. The cultivation of caring begins early.
Perhaps the global financial fiasco will cause countries and citizens to re-think policies and priorities. Will Wall Street executives forgo billions in bonuses to build homes and businesses in third world countries? Think of the goodwill such an act would create. Or will they continue rewarding one another with selfish, self-serving paychecks containing an astonishing number of zeros? It is my hope they will aspire to more than a collection of homes and bank accounts. When given the big opportunity to make a difference that is a very small way to live a life.
Forget thinking outside the box; you must think outside yourself.