Living with good values

March 29th, 2010 by | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Receiving the news about the loss of Ted Kennedy last summer hit me and my family hard.  We valued in this man because he was the lion of the senate who fought for so many issues including the civil rights and the right to have access to health care.  In his book, True Compass, there was one very important quote regarding material culture, which I find it very inspiring:

“Dad never wanted us to flaunt our wealth.  Thus I was not allowed to even have a bicycle until the majority of boys among my friends had received theirs.  Later on, I was not allowed to have a car until most of my friends owned one.  My brothers and sisters had to obey the same rule.  At the time, we felt a little sorry for ourselves.  We never complained, of course.  And years later, we all looked back and understood how important this rule was to our development.  The underlying principle was that we were always to distinguish ourselves through achievement, not mere flamboyance.”

John F. Kennedy’s and Ted Kennedy’s parents were very wealthy, but they treated their children as if they were just a normal middle class family.  I truly admire it because the parents put their children in the shoes of the middle class to really understand how the middle class and even lower class lived.  They also taught their children how to appreciate life without the need of owning a lot of luxury goods.

It is understandable that the Americans feel the need to be materialism to prove that they work hard to earn what they deserve, and Clotaire Raphaille clearly states this cultural value in his book, The Culture Code:

The American Culture Code for money is PROOF…We rely on [money] to show us that we are good, that we have true value in the world…Most Americans find it impossible to feel successful if they feel they are underpaid.  Money is a scorecard.

However, a housekeeper who works just as hard as a CEO of a company deserves to be equally recognized even though the housekeeper may not earn as much money as a CEO.  This was the clear intentions of the values of the Kennedys.  How much materials we own should not show who we are, but rather, our abilities and achievements.  A housekeeper puts into a good amount of quality effort to ensure that homes are cleaned very well so that they could earn a living for their family.  Some of them are working hard not just to put food on the table for their children and provide them clothes, but also even teach their children to appreciate education and to work to their fullest potential.  Thus, housekeepers should be just as highly regarded as CEOs of companies because of their efforts to bring in a good quality of life to the society.

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