The first and most basic level of social order we learn beyond our family is the order of friendship. The oldest person in the group is usually the leader and everyone else follows along. Eventually, the youngest child becomes the oldest in the group and the new leader. But families move around and schools change and the leader of one group of children may find themselves the new person, with few friends once again, in a different location.
But by this time, the skills needed to find new friends are developed and we find ourselves attracted to people that are similar to ourselves. Over time, if we really look over our lives, we will usually notice that our locations may change, but our friends are generally the same. Wealthy people associate with the wealthy, middle class people associate with the middle class, and people who struggle with income associate with people who also struggle with income.
It’s all about being comfortable with ourselves and the people we are with. there is nothing wrong with the picture at all. But if you want to get a snapshot of your lifestyle five years from now, many inspirational speakers will say, “look at your five closest friends.” They are talking about the power of peer pressure. Without realizing it, we become like the people we associate. It is much more difficult to change our own lives when the people around us live similar lives to our own.
There are expectations within every kind of group we find. These small social groups, that we call our friends, rarely encourage different habits. Largely because they cannot encourage you to do something that they do not know, or do not understand. Poor people cannot learn the principles and habits of successful people unless they also know someone who is successful. People who love horses for instance have friends who also love horses. But people who are successful rarely associate with people who are unsuccessful. As one pastor I know would say, “It is, what it is.”
These different people may know one another. They may even attend the same church together. But invitations to spend Sunday afternoon together will never happen because peer pressure cannot allow the wealthy to become really close to the poor. So no matter how much a poor person may try to become wealthy by associating with the social network of their wealthy acquaintances, they do so alone, the really close interaction will simply not happen. Friendship by association without the trust necessary to being part of the “inner circle” still means that the friendship is superficial.
The real conversations that are part of mentoring the seeker by the one who knows will never happen. It is simply class division and class divisions are alive and real among Christian brethren today. There is an old saying: If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. If you teach a man how to fish, he will eat for a lifetime. Too many prosperous Christians are willing to give the fish, but not willing to teach how to fish. Though it’s true that mentoring does exist, it is a very rare thing.
Motivational speakers are telling the truth about success, but they are only telling half of the story. Simply asking does not work. Simple associations are meaningless. True mentoring requires a heart commitment between two people and a level of trust that is difficult, to impossible, to earn. The general belief today is that “trust” must be earned. Mentoring requires a deep level of trust on both parties and that trust must begin as a fully committed investment between both people. Trust can be lost, but it cannot be earned. Mentoring begins with a full trust investment on the part of both parties, the trust isn’t built over time, it must exist from the very start.
The motivational speakers say that the people around you determine your level of success so the implication is simple, if you don’t like what you see, get different friends. But they also forget to mention that it is nearly impossible to become close friends with someone who lives in a higher social class from yourself. Just as there are different classes of people, there are also different classes of friends. If your closest friends and advisors are similar to you and they are all used to living in a trailer, they don’t know what it takes to make a year’s income in one month or less. They never learned the necessary success habits from school, (public schools do not teach success principles, only good employment principles). So unfortunately, lower class people can’t break into the “circle of friends” that know and live proper success habits.
Those who live within a wealthier social class of friends, do not trust people from a lower social class from themselves. They will never discuss business and investment opportunities or strategies with someone from a lower social class. Theft and deception is also an ever present fear, so they are very reluctant to allow someone from a lower social class become too close. Instead, they will allow friends from lower social classes to remain acquaintances, (and employ them in their businesses), but never get really close enough to learn or practice more. Some businesses, (like Hobby Lobby), even have a “no fraternization” policy that prohibits friendships between management and workers.
Leaders will choose new leaders from their own social class and friends first. This is why wealth remains within the same few families in every town. “Family and friends pricing” at the car lot is not just an advertising ploy, it is a living reality. The people in higher social classes learn from their parent’s example that they should support their friends and families first. They give beneficial perks to those they know within their own social class. Everyone else is left “out of the loop.” So the rich get richer and the poor remain poor. The desire to advance to a higher social class is simply met with resistance and denial. “Know your place” is a term that really means, “stay in your social class.”
It takes a lot of love and compassion for a wealthy person to help anyone from a lower social class to learn how to really become self-sufficient. This should be common among Christian brethren, but the reality is different. The promise is there, but the opportunities are very few. Robert Kiosaki is trying to bridge the social gap with is Rich Dad, Poor Dad series of books and his Cashflow games. These are tools to teach lower and middle class people the lessons upper class children learn from their parents that can never be learned in school.
On the other hand, those who try to rise above their social class are also fighting their own class structure when they try to advance as well. They will find out that their own family and friends will do everything in their power to discourage change. They want their friend to grow and advance, but they are also afraid to support their friend’s changing habits. After witnessing their friend, (or family member), try and fail at many different ventures, it is difficult for family and friends to support every new idea and venture. They resist out of love and compassion for their friend.
Their fear, is to protect their friend, from more failure. True friends, and especially close families, care about one another to such a degree, that they physically feel the pain of their friend’s failures. So they may purchase your laundry detergent for a while, but they won’t really invest their heart into your new venture. When you become discouraged and leave that venture to seek another opportunity, they will also leave that venture. When you start the next venture, they simply say to themselves, “Here we go again.” And so the cycle repeats again and everyone becomes even more discouraged. The problem is not the trying and failing, but the failure to keep trying until success is achieved. Let’s be honest, failure and discouragement really hurts.
If we consider our own lives and the way we care for, or think of our friends, the Radical Christian should be able to stand way above the rest of the world. We should have enough love and compassion in our hearts to maintain old friendships while also gaining new ones. If we are successful, are we willing to mentor less successful people in our church to show them the true road to financial success? The whole church will benefit in the end. Better yet, are we willing to teach the younger people in our church true success methods and principles? This is one of the greatest reasons why K-12 church schools, and home schools are so important to support.
This is one of many ways that Radical Christians can change the culture. By strengthening the entire household of God financially, believers would control businesses and policy making where they live, moral godliness can once again become the standard of local culture. We have to start with our children to teach and demonstrate Godly financial principles that will insure their success and strengthen their faith. At the same time, the less wealthy can learn to trust the instruction that works and apply it to their own lives. As they experience positive results, the bonds of friendship within the local household of Christ will strengthen and their combined cultural impact will grow.
This tactic for cultural reform is found in Chapter 12 of Rules for Radical Christians: A Practical Primer for Defeating Radical Liberals at Their Own Game. To find out more, click this link below to get a copy of the book and look at the announcement below the book link. I really need your vote to win this award. Thank you for your help. Feel free to “like,” “share,” and “forward” my posts if you believe they are appropriate for retaking our culture from radical liberals.
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