Not Much Money? No Problem!

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Are you barely making ends meet? It’s time for some perspective, friend. In 2015, we live in a world filled with social media images. Images of family trips to the beach. Images of European cruises and weekly mani/pedi appointments. Images of new cars and expensive meals out.

And sometimes? Sometimes you may be tempted to think, “The whole world is doing better than we are. My family is just broke. We’re working hard but we’re missing out on the good life. We’re paying the electric bill and saving a little for a rainy day. But there’s nothing left for a summer vacation. Our kids will probably resent us. They’ll get mad when we can’t buy the latest phone or cool clothes. They’ll grow tired of being denied the things all their friends have.”

May I be perfectly honest? Grow up, friend. Seriously. Grow up. Your kids may not be grown yet, but you are. So act like a grown person. Can I let you in on a little secret? A secret to extreme happiness? Grown people don’t cry over what they don’t have. They rejoice over what they do have. They relish the blessings of hard work. They know that eating food several times a day is an indicator of great wealth. And they celebrate that wealth with extreme appreciation. Grown people see cutting a watermelon in the back yard as a moment of family celebration. A life of extreme blessing.

Look at past generations in your own family. Did your grandmother take you on exotic vacations? Did your dad hand you a $700 phone because you were breathing? Did your parents take you out to eat every other night? If they did, that’s fine. Let me clarify. There is nothing wrong with renting a beach house or going on an exotic vacation (if you don’t go in debt to do it). Those are blessings. Wonderful blessings!

But I’m guessing most of you come from families that thought summertime fun meant spraying each other with a water hose. Or eating home-grown corn and tomatoes on the picnic table. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know my grandparents gave us underwear every year for Christmas. Our parents didn’t give us everything we wanted. But they were wildly content with their lives and their blessings. They passed that contentment on to us. And we loved them. We loved them beyond what can be expressed in this post.

When our boys were preschoolers, a pack of gum was considered a luxury item. I recently was looking over some old pictures of our days in the trailer park in Texas. Phil turned an old cooler into an amusement park ride. The boys took turns getting into the cooler and then Phil would slowly lift them from the ground while making engine noises. They were delirious with joy. And so were we. Yes, we go on different vacations now. But the joy? It’s that same exact joy.

Kids who have more aren’t necessarily spoiled. Kids who have less aren’t necessarily resentful. No. The truth? It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or barely making it. Kids are looking to their parents to find out what they need in order to be happy. So be thankful. Be appreciative. Be a grown-up. Someday they’ll thank you.
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