The best thing in life is free


We are, I suppose, a family of relatively modest means for this country.  My husband works at what we consider a good-paying job, and we are able to purchase health insurance through his employer, which puts us ahead of a significant percentage of the population.  Our house is nice and solid, and has enough space for the six of us, plus two big dogs, a betta fish, and an ancient ball python.  Our children have never gone to bed hungry, never lacked appropriate clothing, and we always seem to have enough to put gas in our cars, buy art supplies and books, and pay tuition for their homeschooling programs.  We have the luxuries of cable and internet, and we manage to eat out as a family a couple of times a month.  And, of course, I am able to stay home to raise and educate our tiny people.  While it is sad that last should be considered a luxury, I suppose it is, these days.

My husband and I are very good at fixing and repurposing things, however.  We don’t throw out much, although if we find we have more than we need, we gladly give it to someone who has fewer material blessings than our family.  When we buy jeans for the tribe, we tend to buy ones that aren’t frilled or pink, so they can be handed down from one child to the next, and the same is true for socks, sweatshirts, and t-shirts.  Crayons and pencils are used until they’re gone, stains are removed, leftovers become lunches . . . you get the idea.

Expensive travel and costly hobbies, though, are beyond our reach.  That doesn’t bother us in the least, although we have been told by several people that we are less-than-optimal parents because we aren’t planning on taking annual week-long trips to resorts, teaching our children to ski, or traveling abroad.  Our children will not have their own cars, cell phones, computers, or televisions in their rooms.

What they do have is two parents who love them, and who make time for them, no matter what.  We make our own fun around here, even if it’s just spending an afternoon reading stories, then acting them out with stuffed animals or dolls.  We sing.  We clean the house together, we cook together, we suffer through illnesses together.

We are not materially rich, but we love each other, and we get that love doesn’t involve spending money.  Sometimes, love is scrubbing a kitchen floor, cooking a favorite dish, mending a favorite sweater.  Love is giving freely of your time, talent, strength, and faith.  Love is putting yourself second, even if you do have to put your own oxygen mask on first.  Love is why a kiss from Mommy or Daddy makes the boo-boo better, and why little children’s drawings are beautiful.

And love is completely wasted on things.  We love each other.  Things just aren’t as important.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, Your Son washed the feet of His disciples to show His love for them.  Please help us teach Your blessings that their greatest gifts to us are neither bought nor made.  Thank You for their love for us and for You.

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One thought on “The best thing in life is free

  1. Your children needn’t travel at home or abroad to learn about other countries, cultures, economies, and how the world fits together. For this we have books, museums, and great conversations with others who have traveled to such places.

    When I was a child my parents were friends with an older couple who had traveled a great deal. I can still remember sitting next to Margarete and listening to her stories of lands far away and examining the treasures, trinkets, and photos she brought back. I didn’t know it then, but I now realize that I was also sharing the gift of listening as I soaked in all of the tales Margarete had to share and then asked to hear more. I think my time with her was far more educational, informational, and certainly more magical than a trip in person to any country.

    I commend you for rejecting the status quo in this country and choosing the path that is right for your family.

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