Thursday, April 17, 2014

On Wealth

When you post stuff on the interwebs, you open yourself up to morons. On Facebook in a post that showed how Sicily had finished building her house (a share of someone else's post), aforementioned moron called Sicily and the whole project "classist."

I could work myself into a lather if that wasn't so ridiculous.

Best not to feed the trolls, but I responded. Told her we are closer to the bottom of the ladder than the top, by many, many rungs. Told her that Sicily, at 13, has two jobs that she worked to earn money to put into the house. Mentioned the many donations of supplies and time, the salvaged materials, the repurposed goods, the fundraiser that she designed and ran to get the project off the ground. Told her to pick a kid, any kid, and with determination to do so, I could teach them to finish their own house in under a year (and I can. Try me. If you are serious, feel free to contact me. First we'll talk geography, then we'll plan. But I digress).


The troll was right.

We are classist. We are rich beyond measure. We have friends and family and a community of humans online who don't know us IRL that support what we do. Sicily has a mother and softball coaches and other older adults who have taught her and shown her in many different ways the value of persistence. She has people in her life who say "yes," and "I can," or ask for help when they truly can't.

That is wealth. Not the number of zeroes in your paycheck or how much recognition you get.

I believe on a cellular level that money doesn't matter. Having it is good, not having to worry about it is better, but it is not the business. What kind of person you are, what kind of people you have around you: this is the measure of wealth.

How wealthy are you?

(Image by Richard Elzey via Flickr)


  1. wow, that troll-ish response raised my hackles but didn’t you turn it in a lovely direction. <3

  2. Savannah- I grew up on a hippie commune - at least for the first 7 years. We had outhouses, no running water or electricity, and had to park the 4wd jeep down the road if there was snow so it wouldn't get stuck up the road trying to get us to school. I think we figured we were poor. Then, I have to recognize both parents went to Stanford, my brother used to read Asterix and TinTin to me, and the whole place was in part, funded by a trust fund that dished out several hundred dollars a month to my father and aunt (who both lived there). So yeah, we are pretty wealthy. My main drive has 355 thousand miles on it, but i'm smart enough to have made it a 95 honda odyssey. I've avoided letting my kids order drinks at restaurants for ...ever... but we're all healthy and wise, and, surprisingly, when i look at the charts, apparently upper middle class, even with me as a community college teacher, and with five kids. Go figure. Nobody can take your brain or your upbringing - and those things may make us the richest of all.

    1. Watch out...people will think you don't know my will never be able to comment anonymously. What will you do when we move?

      I feel lucky beyond measure, which people may find hard to believe, based on the last ten years of my life in which I have lost a father, a child, a husband, and a house. Even with all of that, and growing up poor and utterly deprived of sugar (and beverages in restaurants also, or really eating out that much), I have parents who instilled a strong work ethic, a moral background that focused on being a good, honest person, and the understanding that whatever I want, if I want it enough, I can 95% of the time have (pretty sure the presidency is out of reach at this point, but wants that mess anyway).

      Some days it is harder to feel lucky than others, but those days are dwindling as time passes.

  3. Perhaps it's everyone else who doesn't know your name! I suppose when you move I will have to invite you to stop by and crash in Charlotte. What else could I do?