As we enter into a new calendar year and focus on the theme of love, I have found myself personal reflecting on an ongoing challenge: to live a life where my values and ideals are fully reflected in my financial spending.
Every dollar each of us spends is both a monetary exchange for a good or service, as well as, in its essence, an affirmation. This can be an affirmation of approval or support, or of encouragement or hope. It can also provide support for ideals which are out of alignment with our beliefs, be they fossil fuels, diamonds, shrimp, or a variety of other things. As Carl Richards from the New York Times stated in this article, in regards to values and our personal priorities:
“My top priorities are spending time with my family and serving in my community. In theory, every decision I make, every action I take, should be about meeting those priorities. But sometimes, my [credit card] statements show I have made other things a priority. I get distracted.”
This is likely true of many of us. In a complex global environment and fast paced world, it can be very difficult to stay conscious of where each dollar that comes out of our pocket goes. That said, there is still a role for each of us to play and often more that most of us can do. As we come out of a holiday season often dominated by large amounts of spending, I challenge each of us to consider critically if we are doing our own personal best at living our deepest values and aspirations not only through our words, but also through our wallets.
First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee is a home for spiritual community, social justice, and intellectual freedom, active in Milwaukee since 1842. Unitarian Universalism is an inclusive denomination; core principles include recognition of the worth and dignity of every person; respect for the interdependent web of existence; and the goal of world peace, liberty and justice.