What is the American dream? Many would say I’m living it. Married, two incomes and two cars, three kids, a four bedroom home, and international travel every year. Is that it?
The cars aren’t luxury cars but they are paid for, even if they are several years old. My mini-van has dents in all four corners and stains on the carpet. The house needs a roof and siding, the carpet has stains and the whole house needs touch up paint in a bad way.
The international travel? It’s Haiti- we travel to Haiti several times a year- as a family, as a couple, and sometimes I go alone to lead a team.
When I was young I dreamed of diamond tennis bracelets, bigger and fancier homes and a cottage at a lake with boats and jet-skis. That seemed like all I could ever want. Then I went to Haiti and my dreams started changing. Suddenly I wanted those kids to be able to eat. The children that walked to school in their checked green shirts and green shorts- I didn’t know their names- but I did know I wanted them to eat lunch, everyday! And the women- I wanted them to deliver their babies in a safe and clean place. I wanted them to learn about breastfeeding and be ready to feed their babies. The diamond bracelet got further and further from my mind.
I remember one time I had just returned from a Haiti trip. I got the kids off to school then decided to relax with some HGTV. I have a love/ hate relationship with the show Househunters. It inspires me to decorate my home but that’s the end of the love. Watching people lament over “disgusting linoleum” or cringe-worthy-white appliances makes me boil inside. Yet, this is the American dream, right? This is what we love: bigger and better; we must have the newest version, last year’s model just.won’t.do.
I’m throwing away the American dream. We can do better.