Thursday, October 4, 2012

First World Problems

About a year ago I ran into the phrase "First World Problem". The first time I heard it I wasn't even sure what it meant but it kept cropping up and the meaning eventually became clear: A First World Problem is a problem only for people who live in a country with a stable economy, sufficient food, and the luxury of a lifestyle, not just a life. One clever blogger has compiled a list of examples. Here are a few youthful ones I gleaned from
  • "I went to go babysit for an hour and the kids didn't know what their own wi-fi password was."
  • "I don't have enough chips for my dip, but if I open another packet of chips, I won't have enough dip for my chips."
  • "I put a bandaid on my thumb and now I can only text with one hand."
Obviously, none of these "problems" is really a problem but each is an example of either a complete lack of awareness of the luxury we take for granted or an entitlement problem that will eventually undermine a whole generation of people.

As we teach our children about money, it is vitally important that we make sure that they understand the privileged status of their lives. What we take for granted on an average day is far beyond what billions of the people in the world can ever imagine. Wherever you may be on the American spectrum, you have significantly more than the majority of your fellow citizens of Planet Earth. Knowing this fact is essential to your children's ability to handle their money. It impacts everything from food supply to fuel consumption. It will also deeply impact their faith life. 

This is the biggest First World Problem. It is hard to learn to trust God when we have so much. Jesus comments about how wealth can be an obstacle to faith. He says that "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven." The wealth we enjoy in this country, even during the current "hard times," is so far removed from the poverty of the rest of the planet that we forget that life itself is a gift from God. Gratitude is lost in the midst of plenty. We fail to see the blessing of the cup of clean water that flows from our taps. We fail to see the abundance of food that fills our pantry shelves. We worry about the high cost of college while others worry about the high cost of milk. 

No matter how hard we work, or how well we manage our money, our financial status in the world has a lot to do with the fact of where we live. We have so much because we are blessed to live in the richest country in the world. We are blessed. We may be hard workers; we may be smart; we may be wise money managers but all good gifts come from God. Our life, our way of life, and life itself is a gift from God.

There are many more tactics for teaching kids about money, but this is the most important one: be grateful. Model gratitude. Encourage gratitude. Live gratitude. Spend, save, and share from a place of gratitude; we have more than we need. Thank you God!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thats true, thanks for the article, it really does help people like us to understand our privledges. :)