schooled

Maybe, just maybe I’ve raised my children right.  Case in point:  Occasionally my financially wise husband likes to find ways to shave costs.  So the subject of coffee came up while the five of us we’re having dinner one evening.  We started discussing various brands, etc.  Brian mentioned that perhaps we could be satisfied with something cheaper than Starbucks.  Now this is where I opened my pie hole and got thoroughly schooled.  I opened my big mouth and stated, “I’m not willing to give up one of the few luxuries I have!  I’m not giving up my two cups of Starbucks every morning!”

Then Marshall says, “Are you serious mom?  We’re eating steaks right now.  And you are driving a brand new vehicle, and we just bought another kayak.  It seems to me you’ve got plenty of luxuries.”  And Oh My Gosh!  I was completely abashed as this statement sunk in.  Now, I know all about wants and needs, but something about that word luxuries and the way this conversation was going made me ashamed of myself!

I’ve been thinking about this for days now, because Marshall’s words shifted something inside of me.  I started thinking about my Compassion child, and what she might consider luxuries.  I thought about how I feel I “deserve” everything I’ve got and then some.  The truth is I have luxuries out the wazoo compared to most people in this world.  Just this week we were asked if we might have room in our house and hearts for a high school boy who has been sleeping in parking lots at night to avoid going home to his abusive father.  I wish I could tell you we said YES emphatically.  But we didn’t, for several reasons.  And I wonder if the big reason is because deep down we’re selfish.  All I know is that I want to grow towards being one of those people who deeply appreciates what they have and can, without hesitation, share it with others.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Lori DeMoss says:

    Wow! Eyeopening to have your own child teach you something you taught them. Been there. I guess that means we did something right. 🙂
    I’ve always kind of envied those people that could just open up their homes and share their family, space and time with others–strangers even.

  2. You do have amazing kids, Jackie! I can’t tell you how many lessons I have learned from kids in the past…surely have many more to come. I used to write weekly essays about it, there were so many. I love that you are taking an evaluation of how much you have. It is so good to look into that mirror every once in a while. I don’t think that means we should feel guilty and ashamed of what we have, but maybe just to take a gratitude inventory and recognize/appreciate our surroundings for what they are. I think I will start saying a few thank you’s….

    Allowing someone into your home is so easy for some, but I can’t say I blame you for being apprehensive. Especially with a crazed father in play. HOWEVER…doesn’t mean you can’t support the boy in other ways, or even assist the family/person that does take him in. Help doesn’t have to be an all or nothing issue.

    And you drink Starbucks? Really? Ew! You deserve better….. ( 😀 )

  3. Patricia says:

    Wow, so much food for thought in the week you’ve had! I don’t think you’re selfish. The fact that M. has that perspective is proof that your values are in the right place, fundamentally, since you and your husband have taught him the difference between luxury and necessity. That’s a specific conversation I had with my boys this week over their abuse of their computer privilege. But you’re right that the kids aren’t the only ones who need reminders to appreciate what they have. This week I learned that my son’s classmate needed a ride to a birthday party because his parents don’t have a car. I am very privileged to have what I have, to be able to afford a new car. A few months back I was whining about something inconsequential and my daughter said, “That sounds like a First World problem.” I’m sure you’ve seen the web site devoted to just such whining (http://first-world-problems.com/). I saw an ad this morning that pretty much encapsulates it: “I don’t like getting charged overdraft fees. My coffee is expensive enough already.” 🙂 I thought of you when I saw it! Anyway, now when I start complaining about having a car payment or the price of gas or a hike in property taxes or not being able to find my organic vegan chocolate chips, I can step back and laugh at myself a little. Laugh at yourself, have compassion for yourself, and don’t beat yourself up about setting reasonable limits for what you can give.

  4. Lea says:

    wonderful post, it really made me think. like:
    there is such wisdom in thinking realistically about sacrifice and offering help: it is more kind to be realistic than to offer things you are not able to do. and:

    What we call luxuries can sometimes be very important (if not strictly ‘necessary’) – like, if those two cups of coffee are the best part of your morning? Then cut back somewhere else…

  5. Leslie says:

    Wow, that’s a big “ouch” for me, too! It’s always easy for me to feel sorry for myself when i have nothing to complain about. And I know I’m selfish more often than I want to admit. I think it’s great that you are having these conversations at your house…and I would say this is a journey many of us are on.

  6. molly says:

    oh jackie, i can’t tell you how much i relate to what you are saying. unfortunately, i think selfishness/greediness is a basic human trait.

    i have so many self induced money stresses, but absolutely no real money problems. why do i worry when i don’t have to? driving away from the grocery store, i berate myself for spending so much. but then i think, “wait a minute. you have the money to spend on good food and look how healthy your family is and how great you feel when you eat well!”

    first world problems, definitely. our family has embraced the phrase pitched by brad pitt in moneyball: “I’ve got uptown problems.”

    and now i’m going to pour myself another cup of french roast. xo.

  7. Kathy says:

    you are raising them right.

    But I don’t think I’d give up my coffee.

    And, I will say it is very selfish not to accept a child into your home. But, with your kids there, I think that is a necessarily selfishness. When you don’t know what you’re opening yourself up for, your first obligation is to make sure your own children and family are safe from fear. Maybe that is cynical. But I’d rather be cynical than wrong.

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