In the preceding post (Speed and the search for meaning) we talked about our use of time and we have also discussed the use of talent (see the post of January 6, 2007 – Calling out giftedness.) So let’s focus a bit on use of treasures.
For starters, this is a very interesting link that can be used with classes: Global Rich List. We must first start with building our students’ awareness levels of North American wealth in order to have them consider their responsibility. Another compelling link that shows our use of one of the treasures found in the earth is the Who Has the Oil? page.
No one would disagree that we are wealthier than previous generations. Easterbrook (The Progress Paradox) gives these examples:
- The typical new home in the U.S. is now 2250 square feet up from 1100 in the 1950’s
- Our parents has one or two cars, 1/3 of families now have 3 or more.
- The typical person now has twice the buying power of their parents in 1960.
- A McDonald’s cheeseburger cost a half hour of wages in 1950, now one can be purchased with three minutes of wages.
- 70% of Americans own their own home now compared with 20% 100 years ago.
- Men and women at middle class standards in the U.S. and European Union now live better than 99.4% of the human beings who ever existed.
Things that were once luxuries have now become “necessities.” Yet most people, regardless of what they earn, estimate that twice as much income is needed to really “live well.” One of the most essential questions we need to ask, and teach our students to ask themselves, is this: “What is the difference between needs and wants?” If we can embed this into their heads so that they continue to ask it their whole lives then they will be equipped for discernment and stewardship.
According to Ron Sider’s estimate, (The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience) “if American Christians simply gave a tithe rather than the current one-quarter of a tithe (2.5%!), there would be enough private Christian dollars to provide basic health care and education to all the poor of the earth. And we would still have an extra $60-70 billion left over for evangelism around the world.”
How are you addressing the use of time, talent, and treasures with your students?
*(For an explanation and definition of Faith Enhancing Practices see my post of February 3, 2007 entitled “What’s the difference between teachers?”) If you are interested in seeing all 12 Faith Enhancing Practices modules at once, you can go to the Member Community Center and access them there.