It’s a sad week for the State of Illinois. Pathetic might be a more apt word. Our former governor joins a long line of former governors who ended their careers in jail. Except he’s going for 14(!) years because of what one former governor and jail-bird, Dan Walker described as turning Illinois’ image “from the Land of Lincoln to the land of sleaze.”
But what I found the most poignant in the saga was what Judge Zagel said in the sentencing trial: “The people get precisely the government they deserve.” In a nation that lately as been prioritizing the opportunity to make money over any other American value, we’ve become a nation of greed.
Now, I’m not the one who’s going to fix the State of Illinois, or the nation for that matter. I’m happy if I get a chance to fix dinner. But I do know this much: an antidote to greed is gratitude. A person who is grateful for what he or she’s got, doesn’t set out to acquire it all. It’s a trait that our Sages affirm must be taught and acquired. And my older kids are just getting to an age where they can really begin to understand the feeling of gratitude.
So here’s my plan. Instead of rushing my kids through their bedtime routine, I’m going to ask them to name one or two things they are grateful for from their day. I can’t be sure it will counteract the greed that’s natural for kids or the greed they’re constantly exposed to–but I can try!