Why are many people so materialistic?

United States
October 6, 2008 12:44pm CST
I have been asking myself this for a very long time, have we spoiled ourselves so much that compassion is not found in some like it should be? Everything is so commercialized it sickens me. Many families going into debt that is not neccessary. I have raised 5 children and yes every year we celebrated Christmas, did my children get gifts sure they did, but they did not expect it or come and ask me for a 600 dollar gaming unit. Each year I would bring my children to food pantries starting at the age of 8 for them to realize that caring for others is much more valuable in life than being materialistic. My children do food drives, we make holiday baskets. When my children were little I would tell them that it was important to give to those who do not have, each one would give up a percentage of the money I would spend on them and go out and buy a gift for a child, they would then wrap it and drop it off at catholic charaties. We have a family tradition now that my children are all young adults, we pool together money to make sure a family in need has a a dinner, tree, decorations, and gifts under a tree. Are you the type of person that needs everything the Jones' have or do you give to less fortunate from the heart ?
6 people like this
15 responses
• United States
7 Oct 08
I really like the tradition that you started with your children. It shows that you're a caring person and I'm glad that you're grew your children up to be caring and think of others as well. I think we need more people like you in this world. Well, I have to admit that I like electronics and stuff but that doesn't mean that I buy everything that I want. It's only been recently that I've been buying things for myself, and that wasn't much. I think I probably would spend more if my mother didn't make sure that I put my money in the bank (financial aid money) lol. I kind of get annoyed because I'm going to be 21 this year and I've actually never withdrawn money from my own bank account before. At the same time I guess it's a good thing too though because it keeps me from wasting that money. I'm not working and I've never had a job (yea I know "lucky me") because my mom wants me to finish school. If I was working and I had enough money to live comfortably with some to spare then I would give money to the less fortunate. I've always wanted to buy toys for toy drives during Christmas time but it's not my money to give. When I'm in the position to give I want to though.
• United States
8 Oct 08
Who said you need money? Some of your time to help is just as valuable! It is great if you can donate money and things but for now if you donate a little time trust me darlin that will fill your heart with the most wonderful feeling. Thank you for responding to my discussion
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40312)
• Canada
7 Oct 08
I am a person who thinks that you can get what you wantneed and still help others. The trouble is that people think you should only help at Christmas so they see the Salvation Army Kettles, the poor men coming to the door for the downtown mission, the speech at the church to help the people in Northern Africa, the drive to help the poor in your community, but the rest of the year it is all forgotten and when Christmas comes there is resentment and there is one of your children bitter because it was not his turn to get his present, it had to go to the poor kids. And I think that is one way to create materialism. However, if the giving had been throughout the year, donating part of the allowance to a cause, giving offerings at church, maybe supporting a child by giving a little of your salary to Christian Children's Fund or whatever one you support if you can afford it will keep you from wanting everything unless you will use it. So if I want a fancy camera with all the bells of whistles I am materialistic if it just comes out on holidays, but not if I use it more often. But if I helped others, then I also learned how to budget and that helped me to do both. And giving throughout the year made it easier. In fact I felt guilty when I could not give as much offerings as I could (they went to help the poor.) Materialism is the result of forced deprivation.
• United States
7 Oct 08
This is very true, I used Christmas as an example for the fact that thier are many in such need at that time. We do the food pantry year round, we collect year round for winter items. We are also very active in many other offerings. Thank you for bringing this part of the discussion to our attention. I do not totally agree with materialism comes from forced deprivation though, although sometimes it does I think more often than not it comes from a person always getting everything that they wanted and as adults they expect that as well. If values are set in when they are children as an adult you have needs and you have wants. Explain to them what is what. To teach children to make choices of helping others. To teach them that others matter as much as they do and they deserve to have the needs in thier lives.
1 person likes this
@liranlgo (5748)
• Israel
8 Oct 08
There is a sentence that says: "when we look for happiness we can not see the happiness" i know that alote of people wish for more. That they miss what they have and can give i know that i do want things in my life but i am balanced. i live life give from the heart when i can and do try to improve my life by doing things that improve my financial situation. there is no black or white.
@austere (2814)
• Philippines
7 Oct 08
guess that's just human nature.. i tend to like material thinsg too, well i believe everybody does, but the issue here is not being materialistic but what you prioritize. i like new phones and high technology gadgets like laptops and digital cameras, but nevertheless i know what i need to prioritize, i like them but there are a lot of things that are of more importance, like family and friends.. so i dont mind spending my money for my family and taking them out into dinner than just spend it for myself..
@rocketj1 (6960)
• United States
7 Oct 08
It is the down-side of prosperity. We become more and more self-absorbed. Hardship is something that is needed in life to help us realize our need for God and others. It is human nature to take and to not give. The people who statistically give the most are those who have the least to give.
@cher913 (25862)
• Canada
7 Oct 08
it is sad when you see this, even among religious familes. the kids just have to have the bigger and better stuff. my nephew won't wear anything unless it is designer (socks and underwear included) and that family is very religious. unfortunately, we dont have a lot of money, but i do get a ton of hand me down clothing for my daughters and what i cannot use, i generally give to a youth shelter or families that dont have a lot of money either.
7 Oct 08
People are materialistic because they are trying to fill a void in their lives. I know people who want want want. They have no need for the things they buy or get but they want it anyway. Maybe it's just to say "Oh I have that". I have learned over the years not to buy or take what I don't need. "Things" don't make one happy people need to realize that. I am a giver. Sometimes to much but I don't like seeing anyone in need when I can help. Helping other brings me a lot of happiness.
@belk89 (1103)
• Philippines
7 Oct 08
I am a person who never get envy on what other people have. I never look for something more than what i can afford. I have dreams, i also have plan of buying stuff but i see to it that i dont buy unnecessary items. I was thinking of my family that i can help with the money that i had instead of buying a very expensive purse or any material items. I take into consideration other people that i can help instead of wasting my money to things that are not really that important at all. I help those street kids and donate in church because i wanted to share my blessings to them. Sometimes i wish every person knows how to share there blessings to the less fortunate instead of spending there money in luxury item inspite the fact that they already own many things.
• Philippines
7 Oct 08
It's good to know that you have the heart for others but unfortunately, most don't have that. Most men who want to live in accordance of the world were actually those who never had the chance of having those materials.
@underdogtoo (9589)
• Philippines
7 Oct 08
I think you are very lucky to realize many things about this world. One thing to do is to feel happy about it. There is no uniformity in this world and for everyone to be the same and think the same thoughts would be boring indeed. I see the morning sun each day and every drop of rain makes me happy. Cheers!!
• Philippines
7 Oct 08
People gravitate to material things because it is far less complicated then actually developing lasting relationships with others, or enhancing their personal growth. Its sad really that money does rule this world.You need it is to have shelter and food. And sadly people view having money also a status. It just the wat the culture has made each generation care less and less about helping other a nd meaningful impression on this world
• United States
7 Oct 08
I've tried to figure this out myself. I think a lot of it is because parents don't set limits for their children and just go ahead and spoil them instead of saying you can have this but you can't have this. I know someone that pretty much gets everything she wants handed to her by her parents because she thinks she's above working hard for what she wants. Her father gets money from the government, but abusing the government to have the newest iPod and a new car, plus plenty of new items for that car is way more important than being able to live comfortably. What I don't get is her parents never tell her no. They never tell her, you know what, maybe you should get a job if you want us to spend several hundred dollars so you can see what it's like to work for something you want. So, her spoiled behavior carries over into her everyday life. When something doesn't go her way, and she can't get others to give into what she wants, she freaks out and throws what I refer to as temper tantrums. Every year for Christmas, she asks for a lot of expensive gifts and by god, she gets most if not all of what she asks for. My partner bought herself a pre-pay phone as a means to keep in touch with her family and friends while at school and I had just recently got a new phone myself. She had to make sure that her phone matched mine as closely as possible and she had to buy a model that was NOT the phone that my partner had purchased. She then had to brag to everyone that she could that she had a new phone and that it could do this, this and this, blah blah blah. So, in short I do blame it all on parents not parenting and setting limits on what their children can and can't have. If they're so used to getting everything they want, they won't think twice about going out and buying whatever they can or asking their parents for extremely expensive items.
@funnysis (2619)
• United States
7 Oct 08
I would rather help others I am not at all interested in what others have as long as I can survive each day then I am happy and it is a good day for me.I as well taught all 4 of my children to help others as it is a feeling you will always remember.Have a great day
@CJay77 (4438)
• Australia
6 Oct 08
Hi there, I try to help others as much as I can, even in a simple ways that I know that doesn't need to be material! When I have a children I will teach them the same way! Some people are just not contented of what they have and wanted to show to the people that they can have whatever they want, even though the reality is they may be struggling financially! And some are just being selfish and don't consider less fortunate people at all. Have a nice day.
@esphyka (158)
• Philippines
6 Oct 08
theres no contentment...we people always ask or more!