I volunteer as the Librarian for my children's school. It is a fun and often overwhelming job. One of the benefits, though, is that I really get to know the kids at the school. Last Thursday, I had a conversation with one of the students that I hope, in some small way, makes a difference in his outlook. Griffin* was feeling extra chatty and struck up a conversation about helping his dad at work. His dad is a carpenter and Griffin got to help him with a porch he is building. Griffin obviously had a lot of fun and felt a sense of accomplishment. We were just talking about how cool it is to be able to build something like that. As often with boys, the conversation took a sudden turn to baseball. Griffin mentioned how Albert Pujols makes more money one-time at bat then his father makes in a whole year. Griffin then stated, "doesn't that just make you feel like a nobody?" My heart sank. While he jokingly stated it, I could see the underlying feeling of truth in his face. He repeated that thought several different ways throughout our conversation. I couldn't let it go. I said, I bet Albert Pujols couldn't make a porch nearly as well as your dad. He probably wouldn't even know where to begin. This statement made zero impact on Griffin. Somewhere it has been ingrained in him that money equates importance. Without a lot of it, then you are nothing. The sadness under his words was palatable. I said, "You know, Griffin, your value as a person is never dependent on how much money you make - it depends on the person you are." I doubt it made a lot of difference in his worldview, but hopefully it is a small step in a new direction.
*not his real name