The other day I replied to a post on Facebook saying that this job would take our family above the poverty line for the first time in eight years. Of course, I've been celebrating this fact in my head for almost two weeks now, but this morning I feel humbled, actually humiliated by my own mindset. This morning two people on my Facebook stream posted two separated articles about entitlement. These two people don't actually know each other, they are in different circles of my friends, so there was no collusion.
I can't help but think this was a bit of a wake up call to me from the Universe. Poverty is relative. The poverty level in Australia is wealth in the most of the rest of the world. In my Australian poverty I have education, a car, access to the internet, sufficient food on my table (and then some), I have so much in my home in the way of things that I actually feel like I'm drowning and I'm currently in the process of purging some of the excess.
I can't pay for my kids education - but they get an education anyway.
I can't pay for extracurricular activities, but really are they a necessity or a luxury?
I can't travel - except that I went to Iceland 18 months ago...
I feel quite humiliated by my own sense of entitlement. I don't have a 'right' to send my kids to football. I don't have a 'right' to annual holidays away from home. Why do I complain about not having a dishwasher. I mean really WHY? I have access to clean water that won't make my kids sick.
Australia is a rich country. Even the poorest people in our society have access to social security (and I believe they should, because we can afford to help out our struggling citizens). We do have people living on the streets, but only because too many of us with tertiary education, houses, cars, food on the table, access to the internet, and the luxury of the choice to work because we know we could live with less but we feel entitle to more, choose to decide we can't afford to support these people.
Too many of us really believe we are too poor to personally help people in our society who have less than we do.
I was never poor.