Free Enterprise - Principle 2

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Principle 2: Non-essentials that people desire for emotional enjoyment are things like toys for their children, special foods, nice clothes and free time.

waiter, football, athlete

After people are fed, have a place to sleep, clothes to wear and feel secure that their physical needs are met, they still want things. They do not want to just survive, they want to have fun and have free time to relax. They want to go to parties! They want to eat food that tastes good. The waiter in the drawing is serving a fancy meal. The football will be a gift to a child. The girl’s parents have made it possible for her to play basketball. The parents want good things for their children. They want their children to have fun. They want to give them toys, good health care and a good education.

People don’t just want to survive, they want to enjoy life! Sometimes enjoying life is about physical things. Cars, boats, bicycles, radios, computers and televisions are all examples of that. But enjoyment does not just come from things. It comes from one’s emotional state. People want things and situations that will make them feel good emotionally. It may come from feeling safe. Or it may come from having pleasant times with friends. Many people get enjoyment from their house. They often want a quiet and nice location in which to live. Many are willing to pay more money so they can live in the nicest part of town where there is less crime and the properties are beautifully landscaped. Things like beautiful yards and parks, quiet and peaceful streets and low crime rates are highly valued in most societies.


The nearby stream provided plenty of fish and even some water birds and water animals. They weren’t going to starve to death. The plane’s communication equipment had been damaged so thoroughly that they soon gave up any hope of contacting anyone or of being rescued. No one would even know where to look for them. They were on their own.

Over the next several weeks the children fell into a routine—an efficient one that got the basic chores done with time left over. They started getting bored. Yes, they could always gather even more firewood, or catch more fish—but what they wanted to do was have some fun! Just being fed and alive was not enough. They needed something interesting to do.

It was Marcella who said, “I know our parents are dead—but they would want us to go on living—I mean really living! They always wanted the best for us. It’s just that now we are the ones that have to provide the best for us.”

Allen added, “Yeah, my parents were always trying to get me to be less grumpy and more happy. Now I need to stop with the grumpy and start going for happy. I think we all need to do that.”

Marcella spoke again, “I agree with Allen. We can mope around like victims, ‘we are lost and life is terrible!’ Or we can make our lives good. What do you guys say?”

Mumbles, nods and a few words indicated that Allen and Marcella had convinced the group. Surviving was not enough—they wanted to be happy too.

The very next day Andre came up with an activity to hold their interest. “Anybody else tired of living in a burned out airplane?!” Several said yes, they were tired of it. “Well, let’s build our own little houses. Of course, not big fancy ones like we had back in civilization, but build little huts or cabins where two boys or two girls can live.,.”

Sabetha announced, “Well, if we are going to do this, I want a good cabin to live in and I want a nice site to build on—I want a view of the meadow and the stream. And I don’t want to be looking right at the back of someone else’s cabin!” Sabetha was always looking out for herself!

Early the next morning Marcella and another girl were out pacing off “building lots”—11 meters by 11 meters. Others joined in. Even Sabetha was working. She was sharpening stakes—corner stakes. Allen, whose dad had been in real estate, made sure they left wide public paths, like streets, running up and down in front of the lots. By late afternoon staked building lots covered every bit of the floor of their little mountain valley. The sides were simply too steep for building. They had laid out their village.

It was clear to all that not all lots are equal! They all knew what Sabetha meant when she said, “It would take three or four of those poor lots down there to equal just one of the good ones up there.”

So the race was on! Who would get the best lots and would wind up with the undesirable ones? And who would end up with the nicest cabin?”

Activity: You can ask, “Students, can you keep your bodies alive without being in school?” Most will answer yes. “If you don’t need school to survive, why do your parents send you to school?” Write a list of their reasons on the board. (If you are teaching adults, ask why they decided to come to school) Keep the discussion going until it is clear that people want more than just surviving—most everything they listed is not for mere survival. They want success, to be respected, have a TV or nice house or car. You say, “We need the essentials to survive, BUT, People desire the non-essentials for emotional enjoyment!”

Select someone who has on a pretty or colorful piece of clothing. Have the class look at that person and their colorful clothing. You ask, “Does ________ (name) need attractive clothes to survive?” They will say no. “Why does he/she wear nice clothes when cheaper more ugly clothes would work?” Point out others in the class wearing attractive clothes. Help the students to see that a lot of effort and money goes into people getting things that are not essential for survival.

You can conclude with: “Most of us want emotional enjoyment, not just survival!”

Ask your students to think of one thing (like a bicycle or a doll) or situation (like when my Grandma comes to visit or we go fishing) they enjoy the most. Then ask who is willing to share. Some will want to share. After sharing, you can say you understand why they like those things because you like similar things yourself. You can say, “Generally speaking, it is the non-essentials that give us enjoyment in life!”

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