Monday, January 16th 2017
Oct
2008
15

Can we find *true* wealth in a financial meltdown?

As the fear on Wall Street panics every holder of American stocks, here is a lesson from the Great Depression: Our grandparents weren’t left behind by their community, family or friends.

crisis on wall streetGUEST COLUMN: SHERYL KARAS — What is your greatest source of wealth in a Depression? A dependable day job? Gold coins stashed under your mattress? A 401K retirement plan?

If the stock market crashes and inflation rises at the speed of light, things we’ve been taught to depend on in recent years will turn out to have been nothing to depend on at all.

The real source of wealth for people in the Great Depression were their communities, family and friends.

My mother came from a very poor family. She tells stories about sleeping on an old ironing board on the floor when she was little, bundled in blankets, to make room for “relatives” just arriving from the old country. Later, when her father died, she slept with her mother in a single bed.

Her father, Samuel Koretzsky, was one of the first in their family to come to the United States and was instrumental in supporting his entire village to immigrate as well. Dozens of families depended on Samuel and his family when they first arrived in this country. And when my mother’s father died, all those people banded together to help her mother — a courageous illiterate woman with five children — open a small deli and dry goods store.

Everyone in the family worked in the store– there was no money to hire help! And the local townspeople frequented it. When the oldest children found better paying jobs they gave every penny they had back to their mother to help the family as a whole. They pulled together. They made it work out. And immigrant families do this to this day.

We’ve lost track of community in our society as a whole. But the truth is that if everyone believed they were in this situation together — and everyone, rich and poor, pooled their resources together and helped each other out — there isn’t any true economic “crisis” to be concerned about. So what if the “me first” economy falls by the wayside? When making a killing in the real estate market is deemed much more important than requiring that every man, woman and child in this country has an affordable place to live and a dependable way to pay for it, it’s time to rethink the values our economy has been running on anyway.

When things go wrong you have to depend on family and friends — not in a dependent way but in a mutually dependent arrangement. Everyone helps out as best they can and everyone has value, even the old, disabled, mentally incapacitated, and young ones our society tends to forget about.

In most families during the Great Depression elderly people stayed with the babies. Older children tended the garden and did the chores. Everyone pooled their resources. If a loved one needed a place to live, space was made for a mattress on the floor. Everyone had value and nobody was left behind.

Sheryl Karas M.A. has a joint spiritual counseling and healing practice with her partner Paul Hood, working in-person in Santa Cruz, CA and via telephone nationally and internationally. She has a Masters degree in Transpersonal Psychology and is the author of three books: The Solstice Evergreen, The Spiritual Journey of Family Caregiving, and Changing the World One Relationship at a Time. Visit their website at www.healingcommunication.com .

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4 Comments on “Can we find *true* wealth in a financial meltdown?”

  1. hi sheryl, you have hit the nail on the head with your article. let's not panic during this time of economic upheaval but instead draw our family and friends close and help our communities. the way i look at it we are all one big family. thanks for sharing your thoughts in such a down to earth way.

  2. Sheryl, Welcome to Soul's Code!

    Yes, we and those among us are prone to fear about material loss.

    We love your re-framing of the issue: One's only assets are energetic :)

  3. i haven't even looked at my stocks and rrsps lately because i know that they are down by thousands of dollars...and i don't want to freak out!

    we've just celebrated thanksgiving in canada. recently a security guard in my office building said something that really put everything into perspective. we were talking about getting a day off for t. and he asked what i was going to do. i shared that i'd be visiting my parents. he wished that he could do that, but they are both dead. he's originally from Ethiopia so i'm sure there is a not too pleasant story behind their demise. he said i was so lucky to still have my parents alive...and you know what...he's right.

  4. [...] one approach is to revalue what we value. Another Soul’s Code contributor pointed this out nicely when she suggested the lesson here is to place a higher value on..., and caring for each [...]

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