Monday, February 26, 2007

A recent post on Ellsworthlink did get me thinking about some things.. and yes, it does boggle my mind a bit.. but, I do not believe that money is the key to happiness. Thinking about the article, my first thought was, "How many of those top one-tenth of 1 percent of earners are happy?" Yes, some may be happy. But not all are.

Money does not buy respect, either. Just because someone has the ability to go out and make a ton of money doesn't make that person a good person. It does not make them bad, either... but it is all about what kind of person they are inside (as corny as that sounds). Yes, you can be rich, happy, and respected. Those are the people who are happy and who treat others well, too. And if they lost all their money, odds are they would still be happy because of the other good things in their lives.

In my opinion, living is not really about how much money you make, it's about how much you enjoy your life.

After reading the comments on the post at Ellsworthlink and seeing JME's comment, "I guess I should stop teaching." I thought about this email that Barb sent to me.

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education.

He argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?" He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about teachers: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."

To stress his point he said to another guest; "You're a teacher, Bonnie. Be honest. What do you make?" Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, "You want to know what I make? (She paused for a second, then began...)

"Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can't make them sit for 5 without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental... You want to know what I make?" (She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table.)

I make kids wonder.
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.
I teach them to write and then I make them write.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them show all their work in math.
I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know in English while preserving their unique cultural identity.
I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.
I make my students stand to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, because we live in the United States of America.
Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life.

(Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.)

"Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant... You want to know what I make? I MAKE A DIFFERENCE. What do you make?"

Yes, I am aware that not all teachers feel this way. There are some teachers in the news giving teachers a bad name. There are also parents in the news giving parents a bad name... And there are so many teachers in this world who do feel the way that "Bonnie" feels in this email. And even if they do not make a lot of money - I would think that what they feel when they do make a difference is worth more to them than the money.

I know this all probably sounds pretty cheesy - but after the morning I have had at work dealing with some greedy people - I had to do a little bit of venting.

I admire anyone who does what they love for a living. And even those people who never get to do what they love, but they do what they need to do to make ends meet so that they can enjoy living. Rich or poor, it is the people who respect themselves and other people who are the lucky ones, no matter where they live. I know a lot of people who make a lot of money - but that is not what defines who they are and how they treat other people, and that is what is important. In my opinion, of course.

I keep saying "in my opinion" because I realize that not all people feel the same way as I do on the subject. I don't want to state anything as if I think it is a fact - this is just how I, personally, see other people. I don't care how much money anyone makes around me, I am not going to suck up to someone just because they make more than me. And on the other hand, I am not going to treat someone like they are inferior to me because they make less money at the job they are doing.

OK, I guess I have vented/ranted about this enough for now.


Work Bud said...

Well said!

Matt said...

This actually is *very* well said. I think I've seen some variation or other on the email theme, but I like the sentiment just the same. While I wish teachers made more, I think the exact criticism the "CEO" makes about teachers is the exact reason you want them (generally speaking) to be teaching your children, because for them it is a passion/mission -- it is NOT about money, it is because they are committed to making a difference. Altruism as opposed to capitalism. Or something like that. Unlike my feelings towards Felguard Legionnaires, me likey this post.

Dave S. said...

Felguard Legionnaires? That must be some sort of WoW thing.

On your post: this is something that I struggle with as well. It's different of course--but I get the same sorts of questions. "When are you going to get out of the military and get a real job?" "You don't make a product, so why do we need you?" Huh? Believe me, its not about the money, I'm definitely not getting rich. It started off as something to do because I had no where else to go, but I stayed because it has to be done--and if I'm not going to do it, then who will? Teachers make the world a better place by teaching our children. Soldiers (when used correctly) make the world a safer place by opposing "the forces of evil" --whatever definition you choose to apply. I wish there wasn't evil in the world--but there is and as long as there is, I'll be standing on that wall.

I know you were thinking just about teachers, but I think your opinion is right on the money :). Success has a very personal definition--some success might be nobler than others but that's the genius of our country--just because it is or isn't "noble" doesn't mean that you can't pursue it for all its worth.

Another thought that I had is this: recently there was some sort of survey of young people (I'm 31--that's still young, right?) where the number of respondents answering "yes" to the question "is it important to be financially well-off in order to be happy" has increased dramatically over the past 40 years. The figure was something like 40% in the '60's and has risen to over 60% today. Researchers are attributing it to the "you are special" messages that began to crop up in the '80's. This might be a case of generation gap-ness, but I think there might be a nugget of truth in it.

Alikat Corner said...

Felguard Legionnaires - yep, that would be a WoW reference! :)

I wasn't just thinking of teachers - I was thinking of other professions as well. I used teaching as an example because I had recently gotten that email and because of John's comment on Matt's article - that he shouldn't be a teacher. But I do think that every profession is needed.

As far as your "other thought" - YES! 31 is still young! (I'm 33 so 31 HAS to be young because I'm still young!! lol) And that statistic does sound accurate - but it makes me a little sad to think that there are so many people who think money is needed for happiness. I guess I either fall into the other 40%, or maybe I'm not so young after all..