Monday, August 18, 2008

Luxury versus Survival (Part 1)

At one end of the spectrum, there are folks who shower themselves with all the luxuries of life. At the other end live those who practice an existence focused around survival. Most people, if asked, would identify themselves somewhere in the middle of these polar opposites. Unfortunately, many who see themselves as disciplined with a life of moderation tend to fade with the tide into that gluttonous world of empty impulsiveness.

Age old truths still run strong. Basic fundamentals learned in childhood must be reinforced. At young ages, children learn some simple lessons:

-Life is not fair. Good is not always rewarded; bad is not always punished.
-The difference between Wants and Needs is not a black-and-white distinction.
-There’s not always someone next to you holding your hand.
-The path of least resistance rarely takes you to your destination.

Parents of every generation want their children to live better lives than they themselves did. While on the surface that’s a sentiment of selflessness, that slippery slope might be a path to spoil. Children need to hear “No.” The best gifts to ensure “the better life” are not tangible items. They are instead a proper skill set, attitude, mindset, and education on how to appreciate life’s fortunes and how to overcome its obstacles and challenges. Children showered with modern luxuries are cheated out of some of these basic truths, and robbed of opportunities to overcome stress and hardship.

“Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach him to fish, he eats for a lifetime.”

The man who is gifted a fish will go hungry tomorrow. On the flip side, being forced to learn how to contend with his hunger by learning to help himself allows him to survive! We can change the above excerpt to fit into today’s culture. Not many people fish for food anymore. Making dinner and desserts from scratch is dying alongside a previous generation. Now of course in modern culture it’s not reasonable to ignore some basic fundamental comforts such as running water or canned foods. Overindulgence in extravagance breeds long term impotence.

Reliance on luxuries breeds weakness and inadaptability. Likewise, practicing survival skills and living a life of reasonable self-denial increases one’s chances of enduring hardships.

So, are you luxuriously surviving? Or surviving luxury? Stick with this series.

No comments: