We had a Chinese family of four over for dinner lately. Just the mom and one of her boys, a 5-year-old, were able to make since dad needed to mind their business that evening. They were so happy to be inside the apartment of a foreigner to see how we live. First time for them visiting foreigners. While our apartment is cramped by American standards, their eyes were wide with how big and spacious it is. The mom almost went into shock when she saw the spacious kitchen that was a main reason for choosing our apartment (we have lots of people over and my wife needs space to cook safely). During dinner, the little boy was bouncing up and down on his soft chair with obvious delight. “We don’t have chairs like this at home. Everything is just wood,” he said. And then after dinner, he delighted in jumping on the floor and bouncing on more furniture. His mom explained that their whole apartment is just 28 square meters for a family of four, about the size of many single rooms in US homes, with no bathroom, and that the floor is so thin that they have to walk very softly and certainly not jump lest they get complaints from the people below them. A tough place to be an energetic 5-year-old.
They are better off than many, but it reminded me how many things we take for granted are luxuries in this world. It also reminded me how great the need is to lift the standard of living of many in this world. It’s one of the reasons why we should seek to do well in our professions, for many jobs when done well create wealth and strengthen the economy for others. It’s a reason to get all the education we can and to be as productive as we can in our lives: not just to provide for ourselves, but to strengthen businesses and communities in ways that lift others. Naturally, don’t forget to give generously along the way.
Now get out there and stimulate the economy.