Dear Kindergarten Cheryl,

Here’s a meme that’s been circulating in the social media maelstrom this past week. My dear friend Cheryl Gilliam sent it to me.

I need someone to explain to me why it’s always “if you can’t pay rent, buy fewer lattes and avocado toasts” and not “if you can’t pay your employees a living wage, buy fewer yachts, rockets and spacecraft”

Explain it to me like I’m in kindergarten.

My answer:

Dear Kindergarten Cheryl,

Sometimes grownups get confused about priorities. They may have never learned the lessons about sharing with others, how selfishness is bad and helping people learn and grow is good. Just because someone is a “boss”, or famous, or “successful,” or rich, or someone a lot of people may admire doesn’t necessarily make them wise or smart.

Surround yourself with people who lift you up, who open doors for you, who share your values of love, compassion and character. We become who we hang with.

Challenge paradigms, including your own, from the perspective of life’s ultimate purpose: We are here to relieve the suffering of others.

Play nice in the sandbox. Share your things but don’t put up with bullies. Model behaviors that are good. We become what we think about so think productive, positive thoughts.

A strange thing happens when some people earn material success. They think they are different than they were before they had all the trappings of success.

It’s not about lattes, avocado toasts, yachts, spacecraft or “things.” Look at life as an adventure story. Be the hero who helps others become heroes, too.

And guess what? You’ll grow up to become someone who makes the universe smile. Be who you were meant to be and what you need will come to you. It will require work. It won’t always be easy. But it will be worth it.