You probably have heard about the Joneses — the mythical yet ever present family trying ever so hard for arrival at betterment of their next door neighbor. The ‘Joneses’ mentality is typified as essence of a lot of what is wrong with society, which is, preponderance of unhealthy competition for material goods — cars, houses, jewelry, art etc.
One dimension of life within which there can exist a subliminal latent ‘Jonesing’ complex, which expresses itself in anger is context of income inequality. Revolutions, mass exterminations, racial cleansings all trace their roots back ultimately to income inequalities, all trace their roots back to perceptions of presence of artificial economic roadblocks instituted by some against others within a society.
No one really cares about race, religion, or social status outside of differences in income within a society. There never has been any revolution whose primary raison d’etre was not economic.
With the mea culpa out front that I realize income inequality can be exacerbated by presence of artificial road blocks within a society — road blocks instituted by those who already have become rich or wealthy — in absence of such artificial impediments, income inequality is a sphere of life within which everyone can practice what I refer to as, ‘Sensible Jonesing’.
Suppose you are upset that tennis players who win the U.S. Tennis Open make a whopping US$3,800,000 in one year, perhaps more than a Professor of History makes in a lifetime preparing hundreds of students for life.
Relative to astronomical amounts earned by tennis players, how exactly do you practice Sensible Jonesing?
If you already have children, why not prepare at least one who seems so gifted to become a tennis player? Even if your child does not win a Grand Slam — Wimbledon (UK), U.S. Open (US), Australian Open, or French Open, over a career spanning 10 years from age of say, 18 to 28, your child has potential to make up to US$5 million.
There are tennis players who never have won a Grand Slam tennis event, yet who over their careers already have made US$20 million. Even if costs are US$10 million, that is a net profit of US$10 million.
If your child does not turn out successful enough for making of top money, he or she can opt out, go to college early.
If your child is successful, that US$5 million, or whatever amount it turns out to be — more than enough to pay for a great college education to be parlayed into a new career. More than enough for buying his parents the cars and house of their dreams.
Is this possible?
The Williams Sisters, and Naomi Osaka, all from families not in mainstream of tennis families. Made it big time. If those three ladies can, so can your child. So then, next time they flash that huge prize money on the screen and it upsets, just get ‘mad’ and if your child has the talent, buy those tennis racquets and get to training. But it’s best to start early, and it’s best to believe your child will enjoy it enough to want to be good at it.
If your child never tries any out, how exactly would you know whether he or she will enjoy playing any sport?
So then, what other careers pay out astronomical amounts of money? American Football, Soccer, Baseball, Basketball, Acting, Music etc.
The same rule applies, if you think your child’s got the goods, prepare them for participation in these professions, prepare your family to participate in lopsidedness of income inequality within society, enjoy the rewards of commitment and success.
By the way, unless you already have tried, and have met with artificial roadblocks, don’t get me started on artificial roadblocks.
A word of caution about Sensible Jonesing. If in course of young adulthood your child decides he or she is not cut out for sensible Jonesing, insisting on that course of action is abuse of your grown child. But then again, if you find this out at 16, or 18 you likely missed or dropped the ball somewhere along the line.
If your child will be happy being a History Professor, do not rob your child of his or her happiness. Let your child be. If your child will be happy teaching in Elementary or High School, let your child be. Do not out of anger at lopsidedness of society destroy any chances your child may have of finding happiness in life.
Love your child. Happiness already is difficult enough in a world within which we have allowed commercial interests reduce quality of mindfulness of life.
There are few things worse than trapping of a child in a life he or she does not have any desire whatsoever for living.
Sensible Jonesing does not abuse a child out of anger at lopsidedness of society. Sensible Jonesing loves a child who does not possess any desire for sensible Jonesing, a child who rather would choose a profession on basis of whatever he or she truly enjoys.
It is true young adult children can be naive about life, have to be guided. But if you let your rebellious 16 year old go off to College, you may get back a 17-year old willing to take time off school for devoting himself or herself to developing of their tennis game. If you apply force, that 16 year old may resent you, resent the sport, never become really good at it.
It is cliche, but yet true, many a times, change we desire arrives not by forcing of ourselves on those we love, or on those we believe love us. But by letting go, and choosing love. Yours it is to prepare, your children’s to decide.
By the way, while it has worked for others, personally, I never would abdicate my own career for implementation of sensible Jonesing. This route implies total commitment, no Plan B.
Note abdication of a career is not necessarily abuse of a child. Sometimes a father just knows having no Plan B is what gets the child to take things seriously. Abdication of a career can be a psychological game played by a loving father who believes it’s got to be total commitment or nothing. Career abdication can be especially sensible whenever arrival at ‘nothing’ is not much worse than staying the course and leaving children’s outcomes up to luck, chance, or whims of others.
That being said, many parents equally have achieved success in sports with their children, this absent abdication of their careers. Not everyone has done it the Williams’ Sisters way.
But then everyone to their own.
Sensible Jonesing loves equally a child who seeks not to participate in sensible Jonesing, who seeks first and foremost to become whatever makes them happy.
Rather unfortunately, my family broke up in divorce just about the time I had bought my kids their racquets, was beginning to explore possibility of sensible Jonesing. If I had grown up in the States, I would have been open to a career in tennis prior to earning a PhD and becoming an academic. In my decision to expose my children to tennis, I was opening them up to nothing more or less than I myself would have considered as part of my personal development had I had the opportunity.
Part of the greatness of a civilization resides in the extent to which people can pursue different paths to self actualization. But I was born in Africa, an environment within which sports is seen as fallback of children unable to cut it academically, an environment within which encouragement of a bright child to go into sports is seen as abdication of fatherhood sensibilities. Africans may find it difficult to speak truthfully about this, but professional middle or upper middle income families almost never attend sports events. Sports events are not considered appropriate entertainment for this class of people. This is unlike much of the developed world, a world within which a ticket to a sports game can be coveted by the professional middle or upper middle income class. Goes to show just how much culture and civilization shape perceptions of different societies.
It is much better to live in a society within which (asymptotically) all voluntarily chosen paths are celebrated, where all paths are feasible.
Sensible Jonesing makes sense. But still yet, let all that you do be done out of love for yourself, your child, and your family.