by Gary Torres
It is hard to imagine a more tumultuous week on Wall Street. The markets have moved down faster than the barometer before that last wind storm.
Many have talked about the impacts of Wall Street on Main Street. The economic pundits have explained this downward spiral as a “correction” to the market. They call it a bear market when the markets go down 20 percent; this has gone down 40 percent. Obviously, this is a big bad bear that is as grumpy as me when I get woke up from my nap.
I would like to offer my two cents (all that is left after this last week) about this so called “correction” to the market. I wonder to some extent if all this catastrophic calamity won’t also provide a “correction” to our collective moral compass.
As all the wealth is wiped out and the illusion of prosperity and its accompanying materialism is washed away, people are left to hold on to something that matters.
And what matters is family, friends, and God. It seems that this “correction” to the market is also making people re-think their addiction to debt and their reckless materialism created by readily available credit and our demand for instant satisfaction.
During this time when we spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less maybe it was time for a “correction” to our perspectives of what is really important.
These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, larger fancier houses, but broken homes and smaller families, and big men with small character. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We listen to experts and ignore our kids. We drink and smoke too much; pop pills for every ache and pain imagined and then complain about rising health care costs. We exercise to add years to our life but have failed to add life to our years.
We pass laws to clean the air and water but allowed our souls to become polluted with materialism. We apologize for having families instead of careers. We claim tolerance and enlightenment and yet aren’t allowed to pray in public, we kicked God out of schools, and won’t salute the flag; but want God’s help to save our country.
As awful as is this “correction” to the market; most experts agree that the free market will make its adjustments and should be allowed to do so. Perhaps this is the time to use the pain of this capitalistic “correction” to get our bearings and find that when all that has washed away we are again grateful for the simpler most basic things in life.
Perhaps we will be moved to say a kind word to a neighbor and look past the imperfection of others and give forgiveness; those things don’t cost anything.
Maybe we will give someone we love, but have forgotten how to show it, a hug, a kiss, or just hold hands; that probably doesn’t cost too much.
Maybe we will spend time with a child playing on the grass instead of buying them another game or iPod; that might even save money.
Maybe we will sit around the kitchen table and talk with our family instead of go through the drive-thru and eat on the run. Maybe instead of texting our kids we will look them in the eye and tell them how much we love them and how important they are to us. I’ll bet that will not cost too much either.
Maybe we will remember what makes that special person special, how we felt the first time we looked into our newborn’s eyes, how we felt when they giggled for the first time, the last time we held the hand of a dying spouse and watched as the flicker of life left; none of those things cost and might make us realize that money, stocks, and the markets aren’t the real story of life.
Perhaps if the press spent more time talking about what matters, this “correction” might not only bring the markets back, but will provide a “correction” to our collective moral compass and we will start to focus on family, friends, and God; and perhaps that is the greatest impact to Main Street.