The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

POWER: Be aware of, appreciate good fortune every day of the year

Stomping around in her red-sleeved dress, demanding golden goose eggs and ice cream, Veruca Salt, from “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory,” is the epitome of the word ‘spoiled.’ She’s snobby, greedy and ungrateful. And she’s rich.

‘Spoiled’ is often used to describe the wealthy. Because the two words are so tightly affiliated with each other, economically well-off people shy away from being labeled as ‘rich’ for fear they will in turn, also be considered spoiled.

A couple weeks ago, my roommate asked me if she was spoiled because her parents were willing to pay for a fairly expensive apartment next year. I consider her to be a hard working student, responsible roommate and as loyal as a dog to her family and friends. As far as I know, she doesn’t scream at her dad for ten thousand pounds of ice cream like Veruca Salt.

I told her, “No. Just because you have money doesn’t mean you’re spoiled. As long as you’re aware of your fortune, are grateful and use it to the best of your ability, your character won’t spoil.”

The popular misconception that wealthy people are spoiled is not always true. People of all economic levels, poor and rich, can be spoiled. Your character isn’t determined by how much you have, but by your attitude toward it and how you use your money.

In most situations, college students have money and belongings because their parents share with their children. It most likely took hard work, guts, careful management and engineer-like innovation to earn that money.

If you lose sight of the time and effort it took to get to what you have — either by your parents’ efforts or your own — the five dollars in your pocket might mean renting a movie on a Friday night. But the same amount of money could also mean dinner for a starving person.

This doesn’t necessarily mean treating yourself to a movie is selfish. It just shows how valuable every cent can be. Appreciate the money you have. It is a gift to be humbled by.

Think about what you’re spending, especially during this holiday season. Come Black Friday, don’t justify buying a gift for someone solely because it’s cheap or because you feel obligated to buy them something. The receiver should be more important than your money, so buy something of quality and meaning.

On Sunday, a homeless man on Wisconsin Avenue reminded me of the true spirit of Thanksgiving.

He wore a black winter coat and pushed a stroller covered with a black garbage bag. Some spare change had collected in my pocket over the past few weeks, and so I gave him a handful of pennies and dimes.

He introduced himself as Mississippi and we got to talking about Thanksgiving. When I asked what he was thankful for, he looked at me with the one eye he could see out of and said, “All you got to be thankful for is that you alive. Can’t be thankful you have this or that. It all goes away one day. I ain’t seen my parents since I was 15 and I’m 45 now. All I got is myself and I’m thankful for that.”

At the dinner table this Thanksgiving, look at the people sitting around you and remember what they mean to you. When you bite into the tender meat of a turkey leg, think about all the time and work the farmer, buyer and chef put into that turkey so you could eat it.

Don’t let yourself turn into a “bad egg” like Veruca Salt. Be thankful for what you have — no matter how much it is — this Thanksgiving and every day of the year.

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