The housing crisis was an event that affected people all over the United States, including my family. At the time of the event I was not even aware of what was going on, and honestly not until now did I really understand what it was. Throughout this semester I learned how important it is to make connections and dive deeper into material and reaching out, in this case to my father about how my family was affected. Through this I was able to make connections to not only the crisis itself and my family but to the course material and novels we read such as The Big Short and Parable of Sower.
The Housing Crisis of 2008 was a financial crisis caused by the mortgage crisis when there was a decrease in house prices because people were not paying their mortgages and there were many foreclosures. The housing bubble led to high-interest rates. This, causes financial institutions such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sacks, and others to collapse. When the bubble burst banks held a large quantity of money of worthless investments in sublime mortgages. The housing crisis left many people without jobs, savings, and houses. In The Big Short a quote that stood out to me that basically summed up the effect of the crisis was from Ben Rickert, “If we’re right, people lose homes. People lose jobs. People lose retirement savings, people lose pensions”
Prior to this class I never fully understood the effects of the Housing Crisis of 2008. My family was affected by the housing crisis because my Dad’s law firm’s business suffered badly from the financial collapse as his client’s projects all stalled. The law firm let go of over 50% of the firm, my father included. Before my Dad got another job he took up some freelance work and my mother went from only working part-time to full-time as a nurse. Being able to learn that the financial collapse led to the housing crisis I was able to understand how many families were affected by this, mine included. People lost their jobs from the financial crisis that affected the law firm, but thankfully my family did not lose our house. We ended up moving to a larger house, and in October of 2008, we bought our house at the top of the market at that time. If my family bought it a year later it would have been less expensive but we would’ve also gotten much less for the house we sold.
After gaining a deeper understanding of the financial and housing crisis of 2008 I realized that it holds many elements that relate to the Parable of the Sower. While the book is nonfiction we see many connections to terms learned throughout the semester that also makes the two relate to one another. Some terms that correlate the housing crisis to the Parable of the Sower are the idea of moral hazard, trust, toxicity, effigy, good/bad faith, and many others. Parable of the sower reflects and embodies as well effects we would have seen in the housing crisis of 2008, such as financial troubles, homelessness, and loss of jobs. In class we learned about pressure, pressure is seen in Parable of the Sower especially with Lauren and her family as they experience it while trying to survive Lauren especially uses the pressure to help herself succeed in the end by escaping Robledo and starting earth seed. My parents experienced a lot of pressure while trying to make sure my siblings and I could still have a good life, even while my parents were working extremely hard to make sure we could. My parents were making sure their troubles weren’t affecting my siblings and me and tried to keep things as normal as they could during that one year. I learned from this class that my parents were working in the term I learned “good faith” as they did things that they may not have wanted to do, such as my mom working full time and my dad having to take up freelance good, but all this was done to make sure my brothers and I could still continue doing nice things as before such as ski lessons, and sports, and vacations. I also see good faith in Parable of the Sower when Lauren sticks up for Amy who had been neglected and sees potential in her and pleads with Cory to let her learn with the older kids. While Parable of the Sowers plot is wildly different from what my parents experienced in the sense that my family during the housing crisis was not experiencing a post-apocalyptic lifestyle. It is still clear to me the elements we had learned in class relate to not only the financial crisis’s effect on my family but the themes in Parable of the Sower.
Parable of the Sower was written before the housing and financial crisis occurred in 2007-2008. However, we are able to learn from Parable of the Sower future events that led to things like homelessness, no jobs readily available, and the loss of ability to get certain goods such as water because they aren’t able to afford it, these are also seen in the housing crisis. The financial restraints in Parable of the Sower provide good examples of how citizens and even my family will experience them in the future. While my family was lucky enough to not have to deal with losing the ability to afford housing and goods, that wasn’t the case for many others. We see financial restraints in the Parable of the Sower when Amy accidentally set the garage on fire, and nobody wanted to deal with the costs of calling the fire department, because nobody could really afford the fees of it so they had to find their own way to put out the fire. In the book, Lauren said “no one would take on the fire service fees just to save a garage. Most of our households couldn’t afford another big bill anyway (pg. 42).” This relates to how in the housing and financial crisis people who lost a lot of money had to be wise about what they spent it on, such as maybe instead of spending it towards a luxury such as vacation, they had to use that money instead to pay for next months rent, or food just to get them through the week.
The Big Short, which plots revolves around the financial crisis which then led to the Housing Crisis of 2008, which we see a lot in Parable of Sower. In The Parable, after Keith’s death, Lauren said “ Who would cause anyone unnecessary pain? I’ve never thought of my problem as something that might do some good before (pg. 115).” This reminded me of how in The Big Short there were a lot of moral hazards, that lead to many people experiencing the housing and financial crisis. The big bosses of the banks and wonders of the funds caused unnecessary pain. This is seen in the quote “The CDO was, in effect, a credit laundering service for the residents of Lower Middle-Class America. For Wall Street, it was a machine that turned lead into gold.” While the two don’t relate in the plot, the idea behind Lauren wondering who would cause unnecessary pain, and the Big Short refers to how the CDO was taking advantage and causing unnecessary [pain to people who couldn’t afford it. This made me think about how pain can be reflected in different ways even if it is intentional or intentional in regard to The Big Short.
Learning about the housing crisis helped me grow as a student by making connections on a personal level. Before this class, I wasn’t even aware my family had been affected by it. The novels we read in this class explored themes of social and economic inequality, community building, and resilience in the face of crisis, which resonated with my own experiences. Reading the Parable of the Sower challenged me to think more deeply about making connections through class-learned material such as The Big Short, personal connections, and issues we as Americans face.
As a student at Geneseo, engaging with the connected world learning outcomes promoted by GLOBE has helped me reflect on what I learned in class about the housing crisis of 2008 and my ability to grow as a student throughout the semester. It encouraged me to think critically and creatively, and to communicate and collaborate effectively through our mini-collabs. These educational approaches I specifically experienced through learning about the housing crisis have deepened my understanding of course material and its relevance to my life. This was possible by feeling encouraged to take an active role in my own learning. Through making connections throughout the books we have read and forcing myself to speak up and share my thoughts with my group. The class has helped me develop the skills and habits necessary to continue learning and growing throughout my life. As a result, I feel better equipped to adapt to changing circumstances and contribute not only in the classroom but to the community.
Sharing my story of how the housing crisis affected my family, and being able to make connections of certain circumstances I learned my family faced from it has made me realize I took steps to better myself and grow as a person. I learned how important making connections to different materials and stories of other people even if it is personal can really impact your work. It is important in growing as a student and person to face difficult experiences and diving deeper into understanding their impacts, in the case of this class, The housing crisis of 2008.