We've Got the Power to Change the World!
It is a daily event that students contemplate spending their hard-earned dollars on everything ranging from necklaces and lingerie to DVD players and video games. Perhaps it is time to reconsider the value of $1. Each student should take a moment to ask him or herself, ''How far can $1 go?'' or, ''What can $1 buy?'' In answering such a question, I expect many students to respond that a dollar has little or no value. Call me the extreme optimist but a dollar can go quite a long way, even in today's world.
My grandfather, who was born and lived in New York City nearly his entire life, taught me a valuable lesson. Once he said, when I was merely a tot, ''Kids today don't even pick up change because they don't understand the value of money.'' And although this comment revisits my consciousness every time I see a penny resting on the ground and compels me to pick it up, the wisdom contained in this short quotation also represents a way of thinking that speaks volumes about the under appreciation of money by our society. If we could individually and collectively realize what potential each one of our dollars has, we might be able to conquer the vast majority of maladies that our world now faces.
Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or some other holiday this December, you likely feel compelled by generosity, compassion, guilt or the media to spend considerable sums of money on gifts and charitable contributions. Televisions and newspapers are full of commercials advertising the newest gadget that will bring pleasure to you or someone you like. Hordes of organizations also take advantage of the season's spirit and bombard mailboxes, phone lines, and store entrances with pleas for donations.
For many of us it is very gratifying to give our hard-earned money to people that we love, to causes that we feel connected, or to those that are less fortunate. Yet, given that all of us have limited funds, it makes sense that we make the most of our giving and think carefully about each and every $1 that we pass on this holiday.
But what can $1 buy in our society anyway? A typical laundry list of common items that cost approximately this amount in a typical convenience store includes: a 20-ounce soda, a comic book, a super-sized candy bar, a lottery ticket and a can of chili. Albeit incomplete, this list is representative of those consumables that our population uses (and disposes of) in short order. The purchaser might not even get ''home'' before an item in this price range is long gone -- digesting in his/her stomach with the inedible parts all too often deposited curbside. Given the frequency and rapidity with which many of us ''waste'' $1 in similar fashion, it is no wonder that $1 doesn't seem to be anything worth worrying about. Yet, a closer look reveals how much $1 can do.
[Unveiling the curtain.] One ''lousy,'' ''measly'', ''stinking'' $1 bill is extremely valuable....