Why is it that the more a society has, the more they become dissatisfied? Why is it that the more they achieve, the greater their aspirations are for increase? How can this generation justify their behavior of discontentedness when they live in total abundance compared to previous generations and the unfortunates of third world countries?
The answer is simple. The human condition is self-seeking and most often lacks appreciation for anything, especially if a society has never known struggle or desolation.
Instead, as luxuries become more commonplace, they become accustomed to overindulgence; their expectations rise, as well as their complaints. They are completely oblivious to the evanescence of wealth and copious living known all their lives. They say, “if we can have everything then, most certainly, we can have more.” They say, “if we can achieve anything, then we must, absolutely, achieve better. Anything less is unacceptable.”
American youth today is categorically guilty of this deficiency of gratitude. They have grown up knowing only too little of real struggle. Even the poorest families in today’s society have more than people of previous generations. Unfortunately, they will never see their own foolishness until they have absolutely nothing. I see this reflected in the media, the public, my friends, and in myself. The shame of our churlish attitude will be revealed when calamity hits.
Our economy is experiencing declines not seen since the stock market crash of 1929. The downward spiral of events that followed resulting in The Great Depression of the thirties sent the wealth of the Roaring Twenties generation to the soup kitchen lines and tent communities. If you know your history, you know our country is not far off from the reality of “Then.” Now is the best time to reflect on and the things that we have and the abundance we have been privileged to partake in all our lives regardless of our income level.
The next time you experience a thirty second delay in your high-speed internet, be thankful that you have the World! at your fingertips through something like the World Wide Web, that you even have a computer. While you are waiting an extra forty-five minutes at the doctor’s office, think about those that have no access to medical care or what it was like to die of things like the flu or a sinus infection before the advancement of medicine. When you are at a restaurant and your food is served a little more chill than you prefer, rather than make your complaint, be thankful that you don’t have to kill, gut and butcher your meat with a spear just to keep from starving and that your meat isn’t rabbit or squirrel or even a rat. (I could continue this litany of declaim until next year—I hope my point is clear.)
The world owes us nothing, though we air our pious attitudes about and victimize ourselves when smallest of frustrations come our way. Let’s not be a generation of spoiled brats, but a generation of strong, high-minded examples. Let us be aware that our lives are insubstantial, and without exception, we will one day die. Let our legacy be our ability to love and our utmost gratitude for the simplest of gain. How much better will our lives be if we could find contentment with what we already have?
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