Arguing over money

My little town of Healesville has a wonderful organisation. Its activity is to feed the hungry, keep the homeless alive and achieve some self-respect, drive around people who would otherwise be house-bound — be of benefit in dozens of ways.

I benefit, not through being a client, but from being one of their volunteers: the more you give, the more you grow. Today, I was rewarded with a beautiful experience: I witnessed an argument over money.

What does that phrase bring to mind? Two or more parties each trying to get an unfair advantage over the other(s)? That certainly is the stereotype, and true for many, but for not the two ladies arguing this time.

As a volunteer, I drove Eve to her bank, then she wanted to go to the opp shop (thrift shop to many). There, she happily hunted around, and bought quite a collection of stuff.

The price came to $57. Lynn behind the counter said, “$50 is enough.”

No way. Ten minutes of vigorous argument ensued. Eve was keen to support the charity the shop raises money for. Lynn was equally keen to give discount to a nice little old lady.

This reminded me of a decades-past argument I had with my brother. We’ve always been brothers, ever since his birth, although we have different fathers. When my father died, I got an inheritance with the buying power of perhaps $50,000 in Hungary, but worth $1000 in Australia, thanks to the exchange rate. So, I wrote to him to accept this money from me, and use it for his benefit.

No way. He went through endless trouble and effort, regardless of anything I said or did, and sent me every last cent.

You know what? THIS is basic human nature. We have evolved for generosity and empathy and kindness. Greed and selfishness are also there, but being greedy is not worth its cost. The warm glow of mutual generosity is worth more than any fortune.

About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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