Wednesday, January 23, 2013

being rich

I've been thinking a lot lately, about what it means to be rich.  It is an age old question...does money buy happiness?

As adults, we connect wealth with social status.  I believe that having money to pay the bills to maintain a balanced, quality of life equates more to peace of mind, not "being rich".  This in turn, alleviates any financial burden which then potentially leads to happiness.  And I stress the word, potentially.

Although children in general have a skewed idea of exactly what "rich" is ("Mom, I got $10 for my birthday...I'm rich!"), I love that purely innocent look they have when they begin to realize the potential of what that money can bring...not just to themselves, but to others as well.

Unlike adults, to kids, money is not about control.  It's not about being part of the "haves" and "have-nots".  It's really about the potential of all the sugary (or battery operated) glory of consuming candy or playing with new toys.  It's that pure feeling of anticipation of revealing what's inside the wrapper.  Sometimes it's that feeling of being able to share that jackpot with friends, as I witnessed during a recent school field trip when my son's classmate, with the biggest smile I've ever seen, bought candy to share with all the kids in our small group.  I think that child felt richer than any other kid that day.

Maybe being "rich" is not about the dollar value of money, but the emotional value it brings, when it is used unselfishly.  I stumbled upon Alfred Nobel's will, and was absolutely astonished with the kind of inspiration it instills. A very wealthy man himself (it was estimated that he would be worth $265 million today), he used his money for the betterment of society.

" executors, shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually 
distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, 
shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind."  {source}

I guess it doesn't take a lot of dough to be long as it's just treated as an ingredient to make even one person feel better.  And like this shortbread, sometimes all you really need are a few ingredients to be rich.  

Simple Shortbread

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • Preheat the oven at 300 degrees.
  • Mix all three ingredients in a bowl until it resembles a crumb mixture.
  • Form a ball and then press firmly into an ungreased 8x8 inch pan
  • Score the entire surface into squares then pierce each square with a fork (through to the bottom of the pan).
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until the edges start to golden.
  • Cut along scored edges, while warm into 25 squares.
Enjoy this rich tasting shortbread!

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