When I was a child, one of the novels I had read was about a poor immigrant family living in Brooklyn in post-war era. The family was poor alright, but the father would put extra effort to get a small amount of coffee and they had made it a tradition to have 1 cup of coffee per person each Sunday morning. It was their way of celebrating their life together and rewarding themselves with something nice and valuable while everyday they struggled with financial hardship.
What had stricken me most was that the daughter in the family would not like coffee and she would dump it down the sink. Her parents would know that; never asking her to share it with another member of the family, forcing her to drink it, or omitting her from this family tradition.
They had accepted the fact that it was her decision to do whatever she would like to do with her portion of the coffee, even though it was expensive, hard to find, and would certainly be enjoyed by someone else in the family.
I keep remembering this fictional family time to time. This family had it right and had respect to individual choices and individual freedom, even though it would mean one of them was “wasting” a nice and then-expensive cup of coffee every week. (I would not feel the same way towards wasting food or other essential items, though, which are essential for our survival).
I am not saying go waste everything as you please. No. But I really like this story and how democratic this fictional family was. Maybe they also felt luxurious or abundant in the middle of poverty as they could let one cup of coffee go every week. I do not know.
What do you think?