Is it just me, or did anybody else notice the common theme between two articles on the front page of Naperville’s tenth council member (The Naperville Sun) last Friday? One article was titled ‘No Worse Fate Than Failure’, how the pressure to keep up is overwhelming students, and the other article was titled, ‘Report: City tops holiday spenders’, Naperville residents projected to dish out $2,381, highest in U.S.’
Friday’s ‘student pressure’ article was the first of a three-part series and I encourage you to read the articles. Kids are feeling pressured to excel in all aspects of their lives including grades, athletics, popularity, etc. Kids exert pressure on themselves partly because they want to ‘make their parents proud’; they don’t want to disappoint them. Kids want to fit in with their peers, keeping up the image.
Parents, adults, residents, call them what you will, are doing the same thing, not only trying to keep up with the Jones’s but trying to excel in materialism, popularity, and image.
WalletHub, a personal finance website analyzed over 500 U.S. cities and determined that Naperville residents will spend almost $2,400 this holiday season ranking Naperville #1 in the country. The City of Naperville relishes in being ranked #1 in just about anything. I’m not so sure that city officials should be tooting their horn on this one. Being ranked #1 in Family Friendly, or the Best Place to raise a family, or the best library system or school system are categories that Naperville previously ranked #1, but no longer. Now we are #1 in holiday spending.
Just as kids are feeling the pressure to keep up the image, is that what we as adults are doing? Are we simply doing it to not disappoint others, especially our kids? Are we doing it to impress others with how good or successful we are? Maybe our kids are watching and learning from us; keeping up the image.
The Federal Reserve’s numbers suggest that many Americans are living beyond their means. The cost of living has increased 30% over the last 13 years, while household incomes have grown by 28%. We are trying to do more and more, and get more and more causing self-inflicted stress and pressure. It’s almost as if we are trying to race our own shadow.
Naperville city officials are doing the same thing. The more they get , the more they want. The more they want, the more they think they need. To what end? The difference is that their inability to separate ‘wants’ from ‘needs’ doesn’t cause stress or pressure for them, it causes it for the good folks of Naperville.
Maybe if the City of Naperville lightened up on us, and we lightened up on ourselves, then maybe the kids could cope better and feel less pressure and stress on themselves.