Society’s obsession with money has turned us into a society that is unable to appreciate the small things in life. The constant need to be making money and the believed perception that ‘time is money’ is ruining the way we see life and our ability to appreciate what really matters in our life: family and friends.

Family is by far the greatest gift given to an individual. The unconditional love, warmth, trust and company which a family gives you cannot be bought. From the moment we are born, we are introduced and welcomed into a family and surrounded by those who will love us unconditionally throughout our lives. But as we grow up and become old enough to work, we start to take for granted that first gift given to us all as human being. However, the ever changing Western culture driven by money has impacted on these family factors.

It has long been believed that hard work will lead to the riches; the so-called ‘American Dream’ is seen as the way out of poverty and into the life of the rich. However, in reality simply working hard will not help you achieve this. The majority of people are still blindly chasing the American Dream and in doing so ignoring what really matters in life. By continuing to chase this ideal we are turning into machines with the constant need and desire to be making money while physically and emotionally slowly managing to burn ourselves out.

The long work hours of a nine to five job, or the 40+ hours a week that we must complete are draining us. The way in which we socialise, communicate and interact with our loved ones is affected as a result. Many families whose children study during the day and then work late hours in order to meet financial needs, find it extremely difficult to spend time together. This in turn generally leaves only the weekend as time off. Here the battle and struggle commences to attempt to balance demands on time as a family, as individuals, and for each member of a family to spend their time with friends, partner, while also keeping in mind any other commitments such as university or college work. The long work hours, ensure that we are achieving the primary aim as human beings of making money in order to pay for bills, create savings, be able to afford days out and other potential expenses, but consequently minimising the free time left to spend or even enjoy the money we have worked so hard for.

A major factor which I feel has affected the money driven mentality of society is the advance that we have had in technology. The seduction and desire to take part in the consuming culture which we find ourselves in also inadvertently have an effect on the amount of time we spend with our family.

The constant need and desire to have the latest gadgets and garments has affected the need to work twice as hard in order to afford such luxury. The need for individuals to be socially accepted into society and the pressure experienced by many (especially the young) to keep up with the latest trends ensure that they are seduced into spending ridiculous amounts of money on overpriced or clothing which are often unnecessary. Let us take an iPad for example. The cheapest iPad comes in at a staggering £249. This may not seem as expensive, until you start to deduct from monthly wage money for bills (mortgage, phone, electricity, council tax) and other expenses.

Electronic gadgets such as phones, iPads, and consoles affect the time we spend with our family as we are so busy and so entertained by what is on the screen that time passes by ever so quickly. What seems like 15 minutes is turned into hours and before you know it, bed time looms. We are all at times guilty of this, while some are unintentionally doing it. I must make it clear that I am not suggesting that it is only the young that are guilty of this, since parents are also guilty of being glued to screens and gadgets, but parents must attempt to generate emphasis on the need for family time.

I want to make clear that at no stage do I see the money driven mentality that we have in society as wrong or unacceptable as we all experience this and have different needs and different desires. We are not all financially well-off and some must work harder than others as a necessity. My aim has been simply to make you reflect on how important it is to be aware of the sacrifices and the losses that come with such a mentality and to remember that family is such an important part of life that we are at times guilty of taking them for granted.

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