Because we live in the most affluent nation on earth, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that accumulation of stuff is the pathway to fulfillment and redemption. Sadly, what most people never discover is that what we thought would bring satisfaction doesn’t. Instead we’re left only wanting more. I think about this every year when the Christmas shopping season rolls around. It’s here. I saw my first Christmas commercial last night.
There’s a difficult lesson we have such a hard time learning: those who believe that things bring happiness will never find the lasting happiness they are looking for. They keep grasping for more, but the pit of material desire is bottomless. No matter how much you make or have, you will always want to have more. And the more you have, the more you want to have. The late Mother Theresa said it this way: “Once the longing for money comes, the longing also comes for what money can give – superfluities – nice rooms – luxuries at table – more clothes – fans – and so on. Our needs will increase – for one thing brings another and the result will be endless dissatisfaction.”
Many kids today believe their standard of living will be higher than their parents. Why shouldn’t they? We’ve given them everything. . . which has fostered a deeply embedded sense of materialism and entitlement. Truth is, this generation might be on a collision course with downward mobility. In reality, that would be a blessing. Our children and teens have been allowed to grow up with such a high standard of living that there will be nowhere for them to go but down. The sad result will be that those kids who expect to find meaning and purpose in accumulating more money and things will be faced with meaninglessness and purposelessness. Their sense of self-worth will be destroyed. The worst possible result of never having enough or trying to hold onto to what they have, could be an increased number of young adults who suffer from anxiety, stress, depression and/or choose to cope with their “failure” through destructive diversionary addictions. . . or even suicide. They will have allowed their premature affluence to destroy them.