A few years ago my husband Dave and I attended the Berkshire-Hathaway annual stockholders meeting. We went to watch Warren Buffet in action as we have always appreciated his values. He has continually said that the government needs to tax him at a higher rate, and he had been in the news a lot in the months before the meeting because of his complaints that his secretary was taxed at a higher rate than he was. The man currently residing in the White House could learn a lot from this humble man from Omaha.
Buffet, who is one of the richest men in the world, could eat anywhere he wants to and pay outlandish prices for every bite, but he has breakfast every day at McDonald’s. He has chosen to live frugally, which certainly gives him more to give away. In 2006 he donated the bulk of his fortune to the Gates Foundation and joined forces with Bill and Melinda Gates so that they could accomplish more by working together. His actions, like theirs, underscore their mutual concern for the poorest of the poor. The Gates Foundation 2017 Annual Letter is addressed to Warren Buffet who had asked Bill and Melinda to reflect on the impact of his gift on the world. It is on their website and is fascinating reading.
Today’s TED talk was given by Pope Francis who spoke about our need for solidarity. “How wonderful would it be,” he said, “while we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters orbiting around us.” He went on to also talk about how wonderful it would be if solidarity became the “default attitude in political, economic and scientific choices, as well as in the relationships among individuals, peoples and countries.”
Pope Francis, himself a child of immigrants who left Italy for Argentina and “met the fate of those who are left with nothing,” asks himself in his heart, “Why them and not me?” He asks because he realizes that he could have ended up among today’s “discarded people.”
And there you have it: two men I greatly admire, one of whom made clear his feelings about solidarity in a TED talk, as well as in so many of his actions, and the other who has time and again exhibited solidarity with his actions, his words and his wallet. .
About 20 years ago Dave and I went to a Faith and Money basic workshop. There we began to appreciate the importance of the solidarity Pope Francis spoke of, of the generosity exhibited by Warren Buffet, and of asking ourselves, “Why them and not me?” It was a life-changing weekend that launched us on an extraordinary life-long journey.
Are you ready to launch off on your own incredible journey? If so, save November 10 – 12, 2017 and plan to join us for a great weekend. Details will appear soon on our website or contact Mike Little at [email protected] or 202-469-8512
Blessings for your Journey