Did you ever see something like this? Someone who is supposed to come from an under privileged home, but they wear a Stussy cap and other brand name clothes. I can remember seeing that going on. Of course, sometimes it looked as if the brand name shirt was the only bit of clothing they had. It looked as if they slept in it! So instead of a number of clothes, cheaper to buy but not 'cool', they own one item of status gear and nothing else! Something strange is going on here. I know there are people who are hard up, there really is such a thing as poverty. The concern is that people might be compounding the problem because they get hung up on silly ideas about how to spend what they do have. It comes to a question of, what really matters?
Do some people get so caught up on image that they try to get their hands on a few things that are fashionable and supposedly give them status, and go without more important things?
In other words, what are they trying to live for? It could be really cruel if they get made slaves to the idea that without certain accessories, they deserve no respect.
When I was teaching, you never stopped hearing about what terrible problems some kids were supposed to have. Then a woman who had worked overseas, in a rural area where some kids hardly had enough to eat, said that kids in the Western world didn't know when they were well off. Some peoples' idea of poverty is not having cable T.V. It's true, life can be made too easy and people can become indulged, and jaded, like the proverbial spoilt kid crying for the moon. Whatever they have, they still want more. But then: when someone is surrounded by material things, and everybody boasts about what they've got, then having possessions can seem to be the meaning of life. Did we give people reason to think that wealth and trophies are what give them worth, and if they don't have them then life is not fair to them? If it works that way, then the message is: to have any self-respect they've got to have things, and show that they have them. That is the only way to get a life!
This is not original, I know. Thousands of people talk about 'the meaning of life'. But it's a continuing problem, like crimes of violence. So we don't have much choice but to keep thinking about it. What do people live for? Is it just to keep up with the 'trendies', the 'cool group', the smart set or whatever you want to call them? If that's how it is working, then people who fall for it are trapped on a treadmill that won't get them anywhere - because there will always be someone who has more, and it will torment them to know they haven't made it until they've got the same. Deadly!
So how can that be changed? Once again, this is not original. As the Scripture says, "What benefit is it to gain the whole world, and lose your soul?" The human being needs something to live for apart from the material world and its trappings. If that's all they can see, then like the horizon, what they want will always be out of reach. Don't worry, I know we need some material things. I love to eat, and more importantly, my children have to eat so I'd better make sure the food is there. The same goes for their clothes, and more besides. But life is more than that. It has to be! And realizing that is important. Failing to realize that can happen when people try to leave things of the spirit, the factor of God, out of the equation when they try adding up the sum of life. I can't tell everybody else how to live. They have the same right to their views as I have to mine. But is it right or not that, figuratively speaking, "Humanity does not live by bread alone." The body is not all. The spirit too has needs. Is the modern western world seeing that and telling its children in time?
Any thoughts and comments? I'm still learning.