I have a very good job in Florida teaching masters students how to use media and technology in their classrooms and businesses. I left a very uncertain situation in public education in California where most of my co-workers are going to have to look for other teaching jobs or interview to keep the jobs they have in the next two-years. Another friend, who has been battling on-going medical issues, openly wondered whether it was worth the hassle for her to keep her house as the medical bills mount up. And yet with all of this my friends and I are by world standards very, very rich. Our difficulties are generally not about survival but about which luxury activity we’re going to have to forego because things are “a little tight.” It’s hard to balance this kind of life with issues like Poverty.
In a discussion session with a group of masters students last night, one student posed the question about whether our use of technology (some might say “addiction”) was preventing us from living a life connected to our neighbors, our environment or our heritage. He followed up with an observation that it seemed like places that are less driven by technology like some parts of Europe and the Third World move at a much slower pace and seem to actually have a better quality of life. It was an interesting insight to imagine that we are technology rich but our lives our poor in terms of meaningful connections, whereas parts of the world that we would consider poor might have richer, more meaningful existence.
I do not pose these thoughts in an effort to generate some “we should feel guilty for being so rich” kind of thing. If anything it should be obvious that there isn’t a one-for-one connection between being “rich” and the quality of one’s life. I’ve been thinking for some time that I need to contact my local chapter of something like Habitat for Humanity and get involved. In a life that’s often overly crowded with things and thoughts I need to do this for me, get my hands dirty and join others helping ourselves by helping each other. Sending a check isn’t such a bad idea, but spending some weekends in someone else’s shoes and neighborhood would be much better… for all of us. jbb
Music: Mad World from the album “Donnie Darko (Music From the Original Motion Picture Score)” by Michael Andrews
This post is part of Blog Action Day 08 – Poverty