I recently watched a YouTube clip of an interview with Australian, Tim Costello by ABC Radio. The clip was from 2012 and Rev. Costello was being interviewed about his book about ‘Hope’ that had recently been released. Tim Costello is absolutely one of my Australian heroes. I’ve never seen an interview with, or read an article written by this man that didn’t cause me to pause and reflect on his words long after the interview was finished. I love that about a speaker. Rev. Tim Costello is a well known speaker on social justice issues, leadership and ethics, he is also the CEO of World Vision Australia.
In the interview Tim Costello was expressing that Australia is becoming a ‘grumpy’ nation.
“…that the prolonged global financial crisis, plunging consumer confidence, job losses, price rises and the tense political environment have led many Australians to lose their sense of optimism…”
Is he right? Have Australian’s gotten ‘grumpy’? Have we forgotten all that there is to be grateful for in our beautiful country? And, if so, what has happened to the great Australian dream? Now don’t get me wrong, I know that Tim wasn’t speaking about the average Aussie’s pursuit to own their own home, but there is a link here. Post war Australia has done nothing but strive to own a home full of the latest gadgets, and all of those things, the GFC, the price rises, the job market, can make or break that dream. Since the 1950’s we’ve had it good. Our economy has soared (there was that recession in the 80’s), jobs were plentiful, and home ownership and homes got bigger and bigger. But when things get a little uncomfortable, are we so precious that the nation starts to sulk? Or is it just not enough anymore?
At the end of the interview, Rev. Costello ended with a quote. He said “where you sit determines what you see” a derivation of one by the theologian Robert McAffe Brown, and I think he is absolutely right. Happiness is about perspective, and of course gratitude. That’s why I think that experiences, relationships and understanding, more than material wealth and consumerism, are so important. For the past 60 years Australians have been chasing a dream of owning our own bit of the lucky country. But when will it be enough? Our ‘bits’ keep getting bigger and bigger, the toys inside them more and more fantastic, but has it made us happier?
There is ‘Hope’ Mr. Costello, yes there is. As humans surely we are learning that there is more to life than the constant pursuit for personal material wealth, because as another great quote says, “you can’t take it with you when you go”.