Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The dreams of those on feathers... and those upon the earth... are just as sweet.

Me: I'm not sure I want to do a firm job. 12 hour days plus weekends. Sure the money's great but I don't want those hours.
You know you can't just think about yourself.
It sounds nice but it won't be you two forever. Don't you want the best for your kids? Would you deprive them just because you don't want to do the work?

The above was a recent conversation. They said it with such conviction that it threw me. Is she right? If I have the earning potential is it wrong to deprive the theoretical children of BMWs on their 16th birthday? The best designer jeans? Can my (note: theoretical) children be deprived simply because they might not be wearing Gucci with the latest Prada purses? I didn't have those things but didn't feel deprived.. maybe I don't know what I'm missing? I looked at Maslow's Hieracy of Needs for a little perspective.

Physiological: the need to breathe, eat, dispose of bodily waste, sleep, regulate the bodily temperature, protection from microbial aggressions (hygiene). We live in a country where practically any food you desire is just a matter of driving. an actual bathroom, a fridge and freezer to store food from bacteria, water regulated by governmental controls... heck WATER which so many thirst for at this moment... My children will have all this just because they were fortunate enough to be born in the land of plenty.

Security: Security of resources, Physical Security, Moral and physiological security, Familial security, Security of health. We live in a country with a police system that doesn't function solely upon bribery, offers healthcare and free clinics.

Love/Belonging: Emotional relationships such as friendship,intimacy, and/or having a family. As the Beatles sang " money can't buy me love" ASH actually relayed a study that the happiest people on earth were in the poorest country's of Africa... the saddest? In the wealthiest nations... As Gibran says: how can I lose faith in the justice of life, when the dreams of those who sleep upon feathers are not more beautiful than the dreams of those who sleep upon the earth?

Esteem Needs: respected, to self-respect and to respect others. I guess a Gucci bag and Prada shoes can do wonders for self esteem, but I'd like to give them self worth through sports, arts, and helping them nurture their talents. A partner in a law firm, and an impoverished family in Africa can help their child's self esteem needs.

Self Actualization: They embrace the facts and realities of the world (including themselves) rather than denying or avoiding them, are spontaneous in ideas and actions, are creative, interested in solving problems, including the problems of others. Solving these problems is often a key focus in their lives, They feel a closeness to other people, and appreciate life They have a system of morality that fully internalized and independent of external authority, They judge others without prejudice, in a way that can be termed objective. Most of the world's rich or poor have not yet acheived self actualization. I do believe that the offspring of Paris Hilton and my own have an equal chance to self actualize.

Conclusion: Whether I make 100K, 50K, or nada my (theoretical) children's success will certainly not depend on the digits on our bank statement but on immeasurable other things that money simply can't provide. Either way, God willing, they'll be fine.

** NOTE:** based on a few comments I just need to clarify. I do not mean that its' bad to have money or bad to be rich. Hey if I become the next JK Rowlings I will be thrilled. I also didn't mean that we are poor or that I plan to just sit at home and twiddle my fingers once I finish my degree. This is not meant to be a cop out that money isn't important and I won't even bother pursuing making some. The point is that children can be fine with a normal income or an exorbitant income. To say that "oh my goodness my poor kids they are so deprived" when they have heat in the winter, ac in the summer, beds to sleep upon, doctors if needed, police just three digits away, free schools, loans, grants and scholarship opportunities, an abundance of food to the point that obesity is an issue in the US.. not starvation... to complain of deprivation is wrong. Before we look at those with more we should pause and look at those with less (i.e. the majority of our world) and thank God.


mystic-soul said...

Your kids need only 3 things from you and that doesn't cost much money

1) Good books
2) Your prayers
3) Your love

You will be their role-model - they will be as hardworking, sincere and honest as much you will practice these virtues. And that doesn't cost penny.

They will live in different time and different world and life is miraculous in a way that it finds its own path. As Gibran said in "Prophet" - they are kids of the time.

mystic-soul said...

By the way, I learned something. Thanks for sharing: Maslow's Hieracy of Needs for a little perspective.

JEFM said...

Hi, I liked your blog. I will come from time to time if you don't mind.


I hope you visit it sometime too,


Mia said...

You have just discovered one of life's best kept secrets. All a child really needs is love and emotional security. It's the parents that need to give their kids the BMW's and designer gear somehow they see it as a measure of their love.

Mia said...

Oh I did not get to see the movie yet. My copy was (must have been bootleg) couldn't be read by my DVD player. I just added it to my netflix list it turned they had it. Hopefully I'll be getting it soon. I am so looking forward to discussing it with you.

say what? said...


Aisha said...

Mystic, well said! Glad you enjoyed Maslows pyramid... I grew up learning it and yearning for the day i'd become self actualized :)

Jon, welcome :)

Mia, yes I always thought that money isnt the root of good parenting but someitmes when someone speaks with such conviction you wonder. I'm glad netflix has pinjar. I can't believe it didint work.. I was eagery waiting for your thoughts on it :)

THUG?.... THUG?? haw hai... ye kya hain? :-/

Obese Girl said...

Essentially money IS NOT root of good parenting but it would come in handy especially for education and those rainy days.

Perhaps a balance of both tethering more on love.


mayya said...

Sticking blindly to Maslow's hierarchy shouldn't be for children at all. its more for corporate managers. You're right Aisha, who your children will be is not defined by your bank balance. But there is no reason to "not" work till kids come along :)

wayfarer said...

You are so right! Kids always do much better when having support from a loving home. Sometimes i wonder if that's why kids/teenagers have gotten so out of hand. There's no one at home asking them about their day. I don't know. I always wished for a parent at home to do stuff with...

Aisha said...

OG: Balance is important:)

Mayya... I'm not sticking "blindly" to Maslow...I was making a point. Maslow does apply to beyond busines smodels as I learned it in my education courses when understanding children's needs.

Wayfarer... children need attention. If you're not making double the money b/c one person is taking it easier to be there for them, its worth every drop. Besides with the cost of child care many times it can actually be financially wise.

Aisha said...

Furthermore even if I dont have kids yet that doesnt mean I should work 12 hour days and weekends. My life is full of other beautiful things that I will not deprive chasing the allmighty dollar.

Huda said...

I can't believe somebody said that to you! I would argue that you'd be depriving your children more by not being around during their childhoods (a natural consequence of those 12-hour days plus weekends).

Just because a certain lifestyle works for somebody else doesn't mean it works for you. If you want a normal 9-5 job even when you don't have kids, more power to you!

Sohnii said...

Aisha: Good post. Both my parents are doctors. Things used to be so hectic around my place that my dad would leave b4 we got up for school and would come back after we went to sleep at night. Its gotten a bit better now or maybe we've gotten used to not having them around much.

Either way, balance is essential! very very important. Earn enough to keep the now and then shopping sprees a possible option but give ur kids time. a 12 hr job sounds horrible. u dont give ur kids enuff time in the begining, and they'll grow up thinking having money and things isnt such a bad alternative. Dont let the money replace u in ur kids' lives and complain about it later. Cheers :D!

p.s: Theoretical children??? u dont like kids Aisha??

Southern Masala said...

Hi Aisha, I am in the same situation as you are. What to do about the big firm job? I will be working in one this summer, we shall see how it goes. My motivation right now is not the future kids I will have one day, but my ever mounting student debt that will be over 100K by the time I am done. Ooo, now I am depressed just thinking about it. Thanks for the post though, its good to know that others struggle with the same issues. Seems like everyone just assumes that you would want that job and must be crazy to have doubts about it, sigh.

Zak said...

perhaps life is just random, inconsequential and ultimately why bother :p

Aisha said...

Huda: Thank you! Some people may want to do more than just work.

Sohnii, thanks for your insights! I say theoretical because there are none. So the ones I'm debating for arent here yet. I love children. If I din't love children do you think I'd have a post about them when they are non existent loool :)

Southern Masala, wow yeah with that much loan its an easy choice what to do in some ways. GSU is very cheap which is why I chose it.. because I knew I'd be antsy about what route to go and I didnt want to feel that pressure. But there's nothing wrong with the big large law firm lifestyle. I'd have LOOOVED to have had an internship in one this summer because it'd be a great summer job...but they're hard to get :(. Do you have aim or messenger, I'd love to compare notes since we're both in the ATL

Zak. Gee thanks for the "pick me up!" ;)

Tee said...

{Standing Ovation} ... I love the heirarchy of needs. I remember that pyramid image from high school psych class text books. LOL. That was just a great post, Aisha. I've nothing to add to it. Boy, you've got a good head on your shoulders :)

Hasan the Not-So-Great said...

This was one of my fave things to learn about in psychology.

Aisha said...

Tee: awwww thanks!!

Hasan: Yeah it was very interesting and I think it's very true.

Champ - Love Hound said...

Aisha Dear! Thankyou, for your Lovely comments on my blog. You asked about my pic, Yes! it's me in Sweaty Stressed Situation. Though you can see my normal pic in the Very First post of my Blog.

I don't know why that ghost guy 've been sayin' things about me. But I know he does.

Well, About money I say "Money is Important BUT money is NOT everything". So Normal Income is Great Enough. *smiles*

God bless you.....

Zack said...

As people have pointed out, balance is probably the key. Money is not the most important thing but it is fairly important. Kids are expensive to raise after all. However, children do need a lot of attention and love which cuts against working 80 hours a week.

Jane said...

Follow your gut, Aisha. I'm sure any children you have will be just fine.

By the way, I think you added comment at the bottom is well stated.

Emory said...

It's about balance. Children should not be deprived of happy, and energetic parents.

Should you work to your maximum earnings potencial? Only you can divine the answer to that question, only you can find your balance. My only offering, is for you to have robust financial goals and a robust plan to achieve them.

PS. It was a Land Rover, Dooney & Burke, and Lacoste. She has her own credit card (my name) and works 8 hrs per week in an afterschool program for disadvantaged children. This does not cover her balance, but is teaching her a little humility and finacial responsibility.

Good post.

Aisha said...

Boxin- exactly balance is key :) hm who is "ghost guy"? I'm confused

Zack- yes balance is key. ofcourse $ is important. It's a precarious balance but it must be sought.

Jane- thanks for the vote of confidence :) My gut tells me to quit lawschool and try to pen a novel. My gut is often rather foolish... I keep it in line :) (Nah I wouldnt really quit law school I like to finish what I start)

Emory: robust financial goals... robust plans to acheive them *sigh* that depresses me. I have been thinking about it for some time now... I dont have a five year plan. I hav eno clue what I'll be doing one year from now... aside from graduating. It's weird to free fall.

koonj said...

Thanks for that very thought provoking post, Aisha.

I have to say - having seen some people who had deadbeat dads and irresponsible lackadaisical - but loving - parents, that I tend to err on the side of caution.

I think many of us tend to assume a certain level of financial stability and effort when we say, e.g., "all kids need is love." There are parents who actually put that into exact practice. And the results can stick with people for a lifetime.

Dil-E-Nadaan said...

I am having the exact same firm job conversations right now, I cant believe how tempted I am to go corporate to just pay off these loans. I seriously don't even know who I am anymore, since I entered law school! I am going to add you on my blogroll, I hope you do not mind!

Champ - Love Hound said...

Does Angelina look like you?

God bless you....

say what? said...

Nothing, just changing for the sake of some fun :)

August Sunshine said...

Unless you're planning to have children in the *near* future, it might not be a good idea to close off your options. Out of law school, if you start working for a firm, you're not obligated to stay with the firm . . . if you decide to have kids and do something different, you can always switch.

That is assuming you want a law job. If you really want to teach instead, are you sure you want to spend so much time in law school? You said above you like to finish what you start, I think that's fine when applied to a lot of things, but law school is a major commitment.

You know how time-consuming it is, and how depressing at times (or a lot of times) . . . and as for cost, even if you don't have loans to worry about, it is costing you a lot of money in lost earnings as a teacher. So taking that into account, it is costly.

Consider all this IF what you really want to do is teach, and NOT law. If you're still figuring it out, then of course, it doesn't apply.

mezba said...

Aisha, I have always found that it's good to have money. I would work a little harder when I am young just so that I get a jump start in life, so that when I need money, I always have a little bit more than what I need. Just a little bit more. It's quality of life as well, I now find that as a result of hard work during university, working, and studying, without letting grades drop, it was quite an effort, but now, no student loans, new car, I am free from those worrying about paying off student loans and debts. As for my (future) kids, well I pray I can always provide just a bit more than what is needed, that's all I want. So you know, I don't have to worry and calculate when I think of a luxury.

mezba said...

I have to add Alhamdulillah to that previous post :-)

Aisha said...

Koonj, thanks for visiting! you're right I wrote this on that very assumption. I never thought of it the other way...

Nermeen, welcome! Ofcourse I dont mind if you blogroll me:) Do you go to Penn? I saw your blog.. one of the law clerks here at the aclu is a 3L from Penn. It's nice to hear that there are others who can relate to what you're going through. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

Boxin Champ: lol. that's a first. for sure.

Thug: Ok. But you're still TDH to me :)

Nadia: This post wasn't a debate about whether to practice law or not. I remember talking to you about this person several weeks ago which is why this post came to be. I am losing two years of a teacher's salary by going to law school yes. But that doesnt mean I'm going to quit now that I'm in my second year with one year left. Law school is stressful but I'm learning and growing. And I never said I dont plan to practice law. I just may not want to work in a firm. Everyone has their own timetable for kids but again like I said in a comment earlier... this choice isn't all hinging on children or not. It's a person choice that I'd be debating if i was 21 or 26. It's a lifestyle choice. On the road to law school one thing that's certainly happend is I've learned a lot of who I am. That being said I dont know if I'll return to education. I would like to. I'd also like to do many things but life is only so long. I'm not going to drop out two years into the game not just b/c I like to finish what I start but also b/c I dont want to. Though this may not make sense, even if I were to graduate and never work a day as a lawyer this degree would still be worth every penny lost teacher wages or not.

Aisha said...

Mezba *sigh* I never said it was bad to have money. I too consider me and Kashif to (alhamdullilah) be very financially stable and comfortable. It seems I'm coming of as "who cares about money" that wasn't it. But thanks for sharing your insights on the matter :)

August Sunshine said...

Okay more strictly on point then, I'd say I understand that it is a lifestyle choice. But it also sounds to me like you might be closing off options by deciding at this point that you definitely do not want to work for a firm. Obviously, if you were passionately committed to working in public interest, or something else, it wouldn't be an issue. But if you're at all unsure about what you might end up wanting to do, practicing law--and then practicing what area of law, etc-- then I think it might be a bad idea to determine now that you definitely do not want to work in a firm.

Just my opinion. I guess what I am basically saying, and I don't know if it makes much sense, is there are good reasons for NOT wanting to work for a firm, but the reason you're giving isn't cutting it. You can always move into something different once you have kids and no longer want to work in a firm.

Law firm life sounds really bad, but not everyone thinks it's just about money and long hours (and uninteresting work). Who knows, maybe you'd like it?

Raheel said...

Maslow and Gibran were cheetahs, include yourself in too.

yes, a modest income with strong family and moral values will make you happier. I don't want gucci watches, the best thing for me would be directing my own telefilm because it will give me real creative satisfaction. Gucci won't get me that.

Btw self actualization is a never ending thing, if want to improve.

Aisha said...

Nadia, I wasn't trying to hate on law firms. My point in this post was simply "a kid doesnt NEED their parents to each make as much money as possible" to be happy not angst about my future goals. When I started law school I never intended to go the traditional firm route... but since law school I've actually thought about it as a possibility that pre-law school I never would have. We'll see what happens. you're right though. I shouldnt close off options.

Raheel, your praise is much too high. :)BINGO you got it on the dot though... creative satisfaction is what I want too.

Champ - Love Hound said...

"That's the first, for sure". My Innocent Mind is in Miserable position while it's tryin' to understand what does it mean. LOL!

God bless you....

August Sunshine said...

I agree that each parent doesn't have to make as much money as possible for the kids to be happy. It doesn't seem too controversial a point.

The person who seemed to suggest otherwise had too much law school in her blood. She seemed to be rationalizing her pursuit of wealth by making it sound like she wanted it for her 'future' kids. (You owe it to your kids, dammit!)

Why not just say money is important to ME? Why is that such a bad thing? It isn't . . .

Aisha said...

Boxin. I too am confused. :-/

Nadia, yeah I agree. It was just a weird conversation I had with her... go figure.

ASH said...

Geez! Think you got enough feedback on this article? :)

I agree 100% that it is the way you raise your kids, the discipline you use, the love you provide them, and the life lessons that you give them AND let them learn themselves that matters. What toys or clothes they get is superficial and will have no bearing on their attitude as they mature.

That being said I think you have nothing to worry about. Your husband (my good friend) will work and make good money for the family....and anything you decide to add (whether from a firm or something less sexy...but no doubt useful) will just be gravy on the pot. Your future family will be fine.

Those that seem to not understand why you aren't going for the "knock 'em dead" firm, don't understand because for them the firm is the end result they seek as is the money and status of getting in.

Sdit. said...

Ok...I guess you have too many comments already dissecting what you've will keep it short and sweet.

I agree!
If my hubs and I were both full time docs...I think I'd be raising a Paris Hilton...and that gets me shuddering!!

Aisha said...

Ash, your vote of confidence means a lot :) Thanks.

Sdit, I guess that two people can raise a good kid even if both ar ebusy working etc. but personally for me it snot what i want to do :)

Weight Watcher said...

Many people know the importance of self confidence and try to boost their own by using many different personal development models. Self confidence to most people is the ability to feel at ease in most situations but low self confidence in many areas may be due to a lack of self esteem. Low self esteem takes a more subtle form that low self confidence. So if you are tired of feeling not good enough, afraid of moving towards your desires and goals, feel that no matter what you do it is just never good enough, then your self esteem could do with a boost.

Every day we make decisions based on our level of self-esteem. We also exhibit that level of self esteem to those around us through our behaviour. 90% of all communication is non-verbal - it is not what you say but ho you say it that matters! Your body language, tonality and facial gestures can all tell a completely different story to your words. It is our behaviour which influences others and people react to us by reading our non-verbal communications. Have you ever met someone you just didn't like although on the surface they seemed polite and courteous, or you met someone who seemed to speak confidently yet you knew they were really frightened underneath and just displaying bravado?

Parental and peer influences play a major part in moulding our level of self-esteem when we are children and in our early years of adolescence. The opinions of the people closest to us and how they reacted to us as individuals or part of the group was a dominant factor in the processes involved in forming our self esteem.

As adults we tend to perpetuate these beliefs about ourselves and in the vast majority of cases they are ridiculously erroneous. It is time to re-evaluate our opinion of ourselves and come to some new conclusions about these old belief patterns.

Ask yourself some serious question:
Is your long-held view about yourself accurate? Do we respect the sources from which we derived these beliefs? Most of the negative feedback we bought into as we were growing up actually came from people we have little or no respect for and as adults we would probably laugh their comments away! Yet the damage to your self esteem was done when you were very young and you still carry it with you to this day.

Is it possible that even those people you respected, who influenced your self-worth, were wrong? Perhaps they had low self esteem also.

As adults we have the opportunity to reshape our self-esteem. Try to judge accurately the feedback you receive from people you respect. This process will allow you to deepen your understanding of yourself and expand your self-image. It will also show you were you actually need to change things about yourself and were you don't. Many people are striving to better themselves in areas where they are just fine or actually excelling and it is only because they have an inaccurate picture of themselves in their minds due to low self esteem!

Setting small goals and achieving them will greatly boost your self-esteem. Identify your real weakness and strengths and begin a training program to better your inter-personal or professional skills. This will support you in your future big life goals and boost your self-esteem and self confidence to high levels you didn't existed!

Learn to recognise what makes you feel good about yourself and do more of it. Everyone has certain things that they do which makes them feel worthwhile but people with low self esteem tend to belittle these feelings or ignore them.

Take inventory of all the things that you have already accomplished in your life no matter how small they may seem. Recognise that you have made achievements in your life and remember all the positive things that you have done for yourself and others. Take a note of your failures and don't make excuses like "I'm just not good enough" or "I just knew that would happen to me", analyse the situation and prepare yourself better for the next time. If someone else created success, regardless of the obstacles, then you are capable of doing the same! Remember everyone has different strengths and weakness so do not judge your own performance against that of another just use them as inspiration and know that what one human being has achieved so can another!

Surround yourself with people who respect you and want what is best for you - people who are honest about your strengths and will help you work through your weakness. Give the same level of support to them!

Avoid people who continually undermine you or make you feel small. These people are just displaying very low self esteem. As your own self esteem grows you will find that you are no longer intimidated by another's self confidence or success and you can actually be joyful for them! Do things you love to do and that make you happy. A truly happy person never has low self esteem they are too busy enjoying life! By getting busy living your life with passion and joy you will not be able to be self-consciousness.

If you find yourself feeling self-conscious in any situation focus on the fact that others can tell and many of them will be feeling the same. Be honest. People respond to someone better if they openly say "To tell you the truth I'm a bit nervous" rather than displaying bravo or fake confidence that they can see right through. Their reactions to you, will show your mind at a deep level, that there was actually nothing to be frightened of and everything is great. If someone reacts to this negatively they are just displaying low self esteem and very quickly you will find others noticing this! Really listen to people when they talk to you instead of running through all the negative things that could happen in your head or focusing on your lack of confidence. People respond to someone who is truly with them in the moment..

Breath deeply and slow down. Don't rush to do things.

Stop the negative talk! 'I'm no good at that' or "I couldn't possibly do that" are affirmations that support your lack of self esteem. Instead say "I have never done that before but I am willing to try" or "how best can I do that?". Which leads us to the last point - the quality of the questions you ask yourself s very important.
When you ask a question it almost always has a preposition in it. For example, "How did I mess that up?" presumes that something was messed up, a better way of phrasing the question would be "what way can I fix this quickly?", as this presumes you can and will fix it. Or "How am I ever going to reach my goal?" could be rephrased as "what way will lead me to my goal quicker" presumes that you are going to reach your goal! Get the picture? Change the quality of your questions and your results will change!

Practise these techniques and watch your self esteem rise day by day. personal development

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