This I Believe

Melanie - Dallas, Texas
Entered on October 9, 2007

I believe that money is not as important to our lives as people make it out to be. They elevate the importance of money to a ridiculous degree: to the point of reverence, and sometimes even worship. I think that the world would be a much better place, and the people in it happier, if we stopped putting so much emphasis on our monetary value, and focus on more important things.

I live in a three-bedroom house with my parents, older sister, and four younger brothers. My mom is a stay-at-home mom, so we only have one income, and it’s not a very high one. While I have been blessed with generous relatives and friends, we always have a tight budget, and there are many things we can’t afford. I never got to have big birthday parties, or buy the newest toys, or go to the movies whenever I wanted to see a movie. We rarely get to go out and go bowling, or go to a museum, and eating fast food for dinner is a rare treat.

However, I don’t feel like I was deprived of anything important in my childhood. In fact, I am very happy with the person I am today. I have an extremely close relationship with my family from spending so much time together, and in such a small space. I find that not many people can say the same of their family. All of my siblings and I have been encouraged to do well in school, treat people with respect, and love unconditionally. Those are life lessons that need to be taught with love, not with money.

I have friends that are only children, or have smaller families, that have grown up in an environment quite different from mine: they are given just about anything they want, and can do whatever they please. I used to be jealous of these friends, but now, I’m sorry to say, I pity them. They aren’t happy, they don’t have good relationships with their family, and they can be selfish and rude to other people. For the most part, they have been given money in place of love, and that has turned them into unhappy people.

I think that if everyone grew up the way I did- appreciating little things in life, knowing the difference between want and need, and finding solace in people rather than material things- the world would be a much better place. People in it would be happier, more giving, and more trusting. Maybe there would even be peace everywhere. After all, what is war but a fight for something you don’t have?