We are constantly making decisions in LIFE. Decisions that will either enslave us or pay us great dividends down the road. Many in our society are living in a coma of complacency. Having given up great for good, just to find out that down the road good wasn’t so good after all. Many have just become comfortable being uncomfortable. I once heard the definition of hell is “the person you are, meeting the person you could have been”. Something to think about.
Last week, Debbie and I took some of our children and our grandson on a field trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano (see picture above). We had an amazing day. We learned some wonderful things, ate some fantastic food, and had another great day of loving on each other and building memories as a family. As I reflect back to twenty years ago when I was getting up at 3:30 am and driving three hours round trip to work and back, Debbie was working night shifts at the hospital and we were two ships passing in the night. We were so busy making a living that we had no time to make a LIFE. We got married to spend time together, but the little time we had seemed to be spent arguing about money. I remember wanting more children, but all I saw was the cost . Through God’s grace, he put some people in our lives that taught us that if we wanted to change our outcome we would have to change our thinking. They plugged us into high levels of LEADERSHIP training and our lives were forever changed.
I want to share something with you that I read years ago that helped me define my priorities.
The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle income family. Talk about your sticker shock! That doesn’t even touch college tuition. But $160,140 isn’t so bad if you break it down. It translates into $8,896.66 a year, $741.38 a month, or $171.08 a week. That’s a mere $24.24 a day! Just over a dollar an hour. Still, you might think the best financial advice says don’t have children if you want to be “rich”. It is just the opposite. What do you get for $160,140? Naming rights. First, middle, and last! Glimpses of God every day. Giggles under the covers every night. More love than your heart can hold. Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs. Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies. A hand to hold, usually covered with jam. A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sand castles, and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain. Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day. For $160,140, you never have to grow up. You get to finger paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightning bugs, and never stop believing in Santa Claus. You have an excuse to keep reading “The Adventures of Pooh” and watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to Disney movies, and wishing on stars. You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother’s Day, and cards with backward letters for Father’s Day. For $160,140, there is no greater. You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking the training wheels off the bike, removing a splinter, filling a wading pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless. You get a front row seat to history to witness the first step, first word, first bra, first date and first time behind the wheel. You get to be immortal, you get another branch added to your family tree, and if you’re lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match. In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there with God. You have all the power to heal a booboo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so that one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost. – Unknown
I am so very grateful to the leadership material that LIFE produces that helps people learn something as simple as DEFINE WHAT I WANT, FIGURE OUT WHAT IT COSTS, AND PAY IT!