You’ve all got me thinking…..Really!!!

youve got me thinking

by Kenneth Justice

~Have you ever started out on a trip and found yourself somewhere entirely unexpected? Much of my life has turned out this way; I think I am headed in a particular direction but often find myself somewhere I didn’t plan on.

Sometimes this is good; like if you head to the grocery store to buy food for dinner but suddenly find yourself eating a meal at a cafe in Paris

Sometimes this is bad; like if you left your wife and children back home in Great Britain and find yourself eating at that cafe in Paris….while the wife and children are still waiting for you to bring dinner home!

Yesterday’s blog post turned out that way;

I’m closing in on a year of being away from the rehab clinic and yesterday I thought I’d share a story about one of my clients….but then as I started reading the comments I realized the comments were much more interesting than my article, but more to the point; a number of readers made comments that took the discussion into a much more important arena of discussion….Expectations and Money

What our expectations for our life…….and how does money affect those expectations?

Annette Harrison writes, “I once struggled as a young single mother of three, I have learned down through years many of poor choices gave way to trials and tribulations that placed me in compromising positions. There is an old cliche that most young people tend to do: Keeping up with the Joneses. I tried my best to keep up with the “Joneses” when I was younger……When in fact it would have been more beneficial to me if I had realize my first mistake was having a child before I was ready financially, emotionally, and mentally…..” (my italics)

Annette’s comment really hits home for me;

–) how much of my motivations and the money I’ve spent have been about living life like other people?

–) how many choices did I make before I was ready to make them?

–) did I always choose what was most beneficial for me?

Sadly, If I’m going to be honest with you the answer to these questions puts me in the same boat as Annette….I chose to do a lot of things in life that I should of refrained from or at least should have chose to do later in life

Vassilis writes, “I am afraid that we have allowed money to become more than a tool. To have a central role in our lives. And the selling out of the public health, education, etc. makes the dependence worse” (my italics)

Vassilis is right on, money has ceased to be a tool in our economies that enables us to more easily trade work, food, and other commodities… has become a central role in our lives and it is sad.

–) Do you want to drink water… need money

–) Do you want to eat food… need money

Oddly enough, hundreds of years ago those two things (food and money) were not connected to money since most people farmed (or kept gardens) and water was free to all the people via public wells.

Thus, while many of us garden…..very few of us have the ability to grow enough food to sustain us throughout an entire year because many of us don’t have….enough money to buy the land needed to do so.

As Vassilis says, money has become more than just a tool……and it is sad.

I obviously left out quite a few details regarding my post yesterday, but both Annette and Vassilis comments relate to much of what I discussed with  the client; the young man believed he needed to earn a certain amount of money to afford a particular lifestyle he wanted; i.e. ‘keeping up with the Jones’s“...he wanted to live like other people…specifically he said he wanted to live the same life that rich musicians live…..and the only way he could do so was by selling drugs.

On the other hand, there was also the added dimension that even if the client worked at a minimum wage job…..the amount of money he would be able to earn would not afford he and his family much of a life whatsoever. He did not want his wife and kids to have to live in the ghetto anymore….and a minimum wage job was not going to get them out.

So sure, on one hand the client’s perspective was a little too lofty……yet on the other hand his perspective was realistic…….

After working in the jail for a couple years and then following that with my time working at the rehab clinic in the ghetto, I ran into countless people that were in dire situations….and far too often I felt powerless to help them. Many of the clients didn’t need counseling, they needed real life solutions.

So where did my time working in human service lead me? At the moment I really don’t know…….I’m still reevaluating and trying to figure things out,

But for now I have my blog and a cup of coffee,


Categories: Culture & Society

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

19 replies

  1. Interesting article. Money has become not even a status symbol buit really a basic to have and to have not.>KB

  2. Brilliant post as always. Some food for thought 😉

  3. Good post. And if I ever start out driving to the grocery store and end up in Italy eating fresh pasta, trust me I will let you know!….But in regards to what you wrote, you know, I do try to keep up with the Joneses, just not with things. I try to act like thethe Joneses, try to keep up (somewhat) on what is popular on tv, what are the hot phrases of the moment, what are the current trends/beliefs in behaviors (attitudes re dating, politics, etc). Why? Because sometimes there’s that little negative voice in my head, that says I’m not good enough, I’m too different than everyone else, and if I don’t conform no one will like me; and whenever I give in and listen to that, I start to get disgruntled, dissatisfied and depressed. For me keeping up with the Joneses is about acting like everyone else. Which is wrong. If I act like everyone else, then I lose myself, and what kind of life is that for me or my children? And now, I definitely need some coffee!

  4. It’s because we have this cult of the individual acting on our quite natural inclination to be part of a social unit – it all gets warped. We are humans, for better or worse, and we need to act socially. Ultimately, the real solution to the ghetto is for the people there to work together to solve their problems, but this cannot happen as long as we have the ideology of rugged individualism, which acts to suppress the efforts of the already weak. Don’t get me wrong, I fully appreciate that individualism is also a part of our make-up; socialism has its own problems. We’re still coping with being urban.

  5. Hello, I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award. Keep up the good work.

  6. Great post. As a matter of fact your post yesterday got me thinking! Now, how funny is that! Then today you wrote a few sentences from my comment to that post. I was totally shocked to see my name. . . And I felt very humble that I wrote something noteworthy. 🙂 Thank you.

  7. Reblogged this on Black Women Have It Going On and commented:
    I was very honored that this veteran blogger mentioned me in his post today! I thought I would share his thoughts concerning my views on a post he wrote yesterday. Enjoy!

  8. both this and the previous post are among your best i think. i can’t help but think of two things when it comes to that client: i realize he needed better solutions BUT he acts as if he’s the only one who’s ever been in dire straits and that’s not true. people have been able to pull out of really tough situations without having to turn to illegal behavior. two – i can only imagine the number of families he’s contributing to ruining by selling drugs including his own. there’s no guarantee that he won’t end up in jail and think about the example he sets for his children – the cycle perpetuates itself. it’s really disturbing. that said – i can’t say i know what it’s like to be in that difficult of situation. hell my own mother has been in tougher spots than i have ever been but she’s always seemed to manage. i don’t know what i would do in that situation but i would like to think it would mean drugs. i don’t intend to judge this young guy as he was putting his family before himself and i can’t help but feel the end doesn’t justify the means as there are alternatives. im not sure what the exact solution is then, but you did mention before about arab families being good about pulling together. i feel if any solution is to come about it HAS to be about us pulling together and stop with pulling further away from each other. i know we all like our space and independence but it’s coming at some really high prices that im not sure we’re able to pay anymore.

  9. Came here to say thanks for the like on my blog…was pleasantly surprised by the content of yours. Interesting stuff 🙂

  10. Interesting I guess is the right word here.

  11. The only way to free oneself from the money machine is to lose the necessity for it . . .
    “then what?”
    You will begin to realize that you were enslaved in a gilded cage.
    “then what?”
    Forget the bullshit the PR guys are feeding you. In actuality the simple life is far more enjoyable. Start to plan your escape.
    “then what?”
    It is amazing how well you can do on very little money. It’s up to you to begin the journey that many of us are already on. Research your possibilities, lots of info out there and in wordpress.
    “then what?”
    Have a wonderful non-religious born again experience . . . .

  12. The tedious balance of wants and needs will always be with us. We Americans need a lot of things, and they cost lots of money. So, we work harder and earn more money or figure ways to get money out of others. These things lead to frustration and debt. I wish I had an answer to this spiral but I don’t. I only suggest awareness of action. I would call us all — greedy sinners — but that would be to preachey. Keep on blogging.

  13. Kenneth,

    You are clearly on to something with this line of thinking, and I am looking forward to reading more of your thoughts as they appear.

    I appreciate your visit to my blog and hope we may find more in common as time progresses.

    Regards….John H.

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