What if you were fully honest with your kids? What if you told them the little secret you’ve been keeping from them? What if you confessed to your children just how wealthy you are?
There seems to be a common thread in the wealthy, we don’t like to admit we are wealthy. Actually the opposite is true, we pretend we are “poor”, on the verge of homelessness at any moment. I’m not talking about Oprah or Bill Gates, I’m talking about people like you and me.
If you are reading this post, then you likely have a computer or smart phone. This also means you have electricity in your home. If that is true I’m guessing you have indoor plumbing. All these things add up to the reality that you are rich, or at least richer than 85% of the world.
For some reason, this fact often makes us uncomfortable instead of grateful and generous. We need to change this. I think it is critical that we stop this faux campaign of near poverty and start actively embracing the reality: we are rich.
For the sake of my own children, this is what I have done this past year: I told my kids, “We are wealthy.” The change in them and myself was exactly what I was hoping for.
This year: Here are 3 reasons you should admit to your kids that you are wealthy.
It re-defines our identity from Consumer to Giver:
I think the number 1 reason we don’t consider ourselves to be rich is that we evaluate wealth by how much we can consume.
“Oh, I can’t afford that car… what do you think I’m made of money?”
“I WISH I could go to Hawaii, a local stay-cation is more up our alley”
“Those people eat out at restaurants all the time! Some of us have to live on a budget”
“Maybe some day I’ll win the lottery and buy that home I’ve always dreamed of”
The common thread in all of those phrases is that it defines being wealthy by being able to consume whatever we want with no limits.
We think that to be wealthy is to have no confines on our spending and consuming. This is not a Godly way to define wealth.
I think God defines wealth as having enough to provide and care for your family and a bit more to do the same for some of those around you. If you are able to do that… you are rich.
Cable TV, computers, cars, vacations, eating out, smart phones, are all wonderful bonuses… but they are not the definition of what it means to be rich. You and I are truly rich because we can care for ourselves, our family and others.
Instead of defining our wealth by how much we can consume, we should define it by how generous we are able to be. First to our family and then beyond.
I often wonder how it feels for God to hear us, who are so blessed, complain to our friends that we wish “we were rich”.
Today, tell your kids how thankful you are to be so wealthy, wealth which enables you to provide for them and to help others in need. Redefine wealth as your ability to give, not your ability to consume.
We become more generous:
Those who are “barely getting by” are not generous, they hoard every last penny. Often we see generosity as the realm of the wealthy who have all this cash laying around.
Recently, my youngest son was giving away money to some neighbourhood kids. I overheard my oldest say, “Thabo, don’t give that money away, we won’t have any money left… we’re not rich!” My son had somehow been deceived in to thinking that we were poor and was hoarding his money instead of being generous.
I told both my sons later that day, “Boys, did you know we are rich?”. Garett said, “But we don’t live in a mansion!” (obviously his definition of rich!). I explained to them that if we have a home with electricity, indoor plumbing and food on the table every single day, then we were rich. Their eyes got wide and they were suddenly really excited at this prospect.
With this in mind we made a list of ways we could be generous since we were so wealthy!
We become free from comparison:
Admitting we are rich frees you and your children from the prison of comparison.
There is always someone richer than you. If you use comparison as your model of evaluation, no matter how much you have, it will never be enough. Dissatisfaction will reign in our hearts… looking at others with envy instead of celebrating their blessings.
I often remind myself of how deeply blessed I am… a home, food every day, clothes that are in good condition. The simple things. I guard against comparison with thoughts like, “If only I had as much money as they had” and thus spoiling my contentment and joy.
This year, make it the year of telling your kids just how blessed you are. Hopefully, your family will move from consumer to giver. From stingy hoarders to people of generosity. From a slave to comparison to people who celebrate the blessings of others.