Jennifer Lance, writing in the January 7th Eco Child’s Play, calls our attention to a positive (and somewhat unexpected) consequence of the economic downturn. She cites a New York Times and CBS News poll which found that “more Americans are spending more time with family and friends and less time shopping during the recession.” The survey of some 855 adults indicated that in addition to spending extra time with family and friends, many people were putting extra time into such hobbies as gardening, cooking, reading, and watching television. The poll, moreover, is no isolated event: its results mirror those of a recent Department of Labor poll.
Lance writes that “more time together with less money to spend translates to quality family time. The mall and movie theater are abandoned for the park, trail, river, or pond.” Let’s hope that this silver lining eclipses its cloud, that it lasts long after the recession has ended. For as study upon study has shown, the long-term satisfaction gained from quality time with family or friends or from the pursuit of hobbies is vastly and repeatedly greater than the satisfaction gained from “stuff.”