Simplicity

I just read an article on Facebook about parents today getting the “raw deal.”  Even before I started reading this article, I thought

WHAT RAW DEAL?

It went on to discuss how parents today bend over backwards for their children, catering to their every desire.  The writer discussed her own childhood full of chores, waking up early, playing outdoors all day and her parents spending money, not on their children’s toys and status, but on things like retirement.  She wondered what had happened that kids are so spoiled.  Really?  That’s even a questions?  What happened?

THE PARENTS.

That’s what happened!  I do think the writer is trying to point this out; that it’s today’s parents who have done this.  But she admits to being guilty of this too.

SO STOP.  You don’t have to give your kids what they want every time they ask for something.  They don’t need closets full of designer clothes.  If it’s something you feel you need to complain about, CHANGE IT.  No one is at fault for your spoiled rotten kids except YOU.

But this is me speaking.  A nonconformist in every aspect of that word.  We are living this life because God has blessed us.  Life is not a competition.  We tried that.  We tried being normal once.  We bought a nice house in a great neighborhood close to a top ranking school.  We had a big yard and we shopped on weekends to fill up the house with furniture, toys, clothes.  And we worked hard to maintain this “status quo.”  And it nearly killed us.

The mold house was killing us.  Slowly and surely.  We tried harder and harder to maintain our lifestyle.  Our medical bills got higher and higher and we became poorer and poorer.  Leaving that house was so incredibly hard.  Leaving everything we owned.  But it was the best thing that ever happened to us.  Yes, I’m an optimistic person and through this ordeal, I have NEVER lost faith.  Ian often wondered how I remained so faithful in Christ as our lives were falling apart around us.  If faith is a God given gift, I supposed that’s mine.  Because I don’t have any other gifts!

I’ll repeat what I said.  Leaving everything was the best thing that ever happened.  It gave us this amazing life we have today.  It helped us escape the norm, the status quo, the rat race that the writer of the article on Facebook is struggling with.

Our lives are so simple now.  We want for nothing.  Our kids are the happiest they have ever been and they have the necessities and not much more.  And they want for very little.  We aren’t poor in the economic sense.  But we no longer measure our life in material wealth.  We are RICH.  Yes, Ian does very well, but that’s not what I mean.  Once you get out of the rat race and look inside of what you really want as a family, is it really a bigger house?  When you are on your death bed, will you think “boy, I sure am glad I bought that $70,000 truck.”  If you ask your kids what they most desire, their answers might surprise you.  Time with YOU.  FAMILY time.

To make your life easier, don’t buy more STUFF.  Get rid of it.  Yes, that cool new washing machine that can do TWO loads at once really is amazing.  But at over $2,000 for just the washer/sidekick option, how is that making your life easier?  To me, it sounds like you have to work harder in order to buy that.  Or, if you are like the typical American, you need to work harder in order to pay off the credit card in which you bought the washer.  And then you’ll need the matching dryer, right?  More time at work, more over time, less money for family vacations.

Does your kid want a $200 basketball?  Guess what?  He doesn’t need it.  Really, he doesn’t.  And that super cute onesie for only $45 at a designer shop?  You can forgo that too.  Trust me.  You’re baby will be ok without it.  I’m not saying don’t treat yourself and your family to a job well done.  Just redefine what a treat is.  I realize this is coming from me, but go camping!  Spend a long weekend together.  Have your kids help with the laundry.  Make it fun.  Turn on the radio and sing while putting things in the washer.  Have a deep conversation while hanging (yes, hanging) the clothes.  And then tell funny stories while folding.  That time spent as a family is what will make your life simpler; not that washing machine that can do 2 loads at once!

In the end, if you’re part of this credit card debt rat race American theme we have going on, it’s not you, the parent, who is getting the “raw deal.”  It’s your children.  They are being cheated.  They are missing out on time spent with YOU while you work overtime to buy them the things you think they want.  When in reality, what they really want is YOU.  Not the stuff you’re working so hard to buy for them.  Quit cheating your kids out of the parents they need.