Monday, April 2, 2012

Mega Millions Jackpot

The hype and excitement of the Mega Millions Jackpot has leaked into my middle school classroom.  Students were working on their adding and subtracting fraction review, and began to discuss what they would buy if their family won the lottery.  Secretly, I was thinking of that also.

Visions of a new house built on a wooded acreage, adirondack chairs in the background overlooking my timber, and the echoes of a small stream in the background.  Of course, I would also be refreshed from having slept in since I would only be volunteering my time, instead of working full-time.   I would donate a great deal of the money to local school districts and my church, while supporting causes that mean a lot to me.  Taking a trip to meet the Queen of England and travel to far off lands for months at a time, while sending postcards back home would also be on the list of must-dos.  This was the beginnings of my planned Jackpot spending.

I was brought back to real-time when a student was rattling off the 4-wheelers and ATVS he would buy with his winnings.  I smiled and asked the other student in our math group what he would want to spend his Jackpot on.  He said he would be buy a double-wide trailer because he wanted more space to live in.  I stopped my fleeting thoughts of extravagant spending.  I asked him what else he would want to buy.  He said nothing, he only wanted a new trailer.

His response allowed me to step back and realize that while I am spending my money on things I don't really need, he was focused on achieving Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  To him, owning that trailer was all he really needed and wanted.  To him and other students I interact with, their only dream is having their basic needs met.  It was a moment for me to step back and see his perspective on life's Jackpot.