I was lucky. I was raised on our family farm with no money for luxuries. Sticky summer days were spent dripping as I helped my mother in the kitchen, pulling seven more cans of stewed tomatoes from the boiling water. The reward for 10 hours of sweating was a refreshing dip in the trough used for watering our livestock. Fall found me in the woods throwing kindling into the back of an ancient truck. Sawdust itched over every inch of me. My parents were teaching me significant lessons, the value of time, the satisfaction of hard work and the importance of accomplishment.
As a youth, I failed to appreciate such lessons. I frequently lamented the abuse I was subjected to. My dad’s pat response was if you don’t like this work then you should get an education; I did. With my college degree came a good job, a new car, nice clothes and a larger savings account. Then, I had a daughter. That is when I finally realized a lesson of my youth. Invest wisely.
Money and time are inversely related. I can have more time but it means a sacrifice of money. I can have more money but I have to pay with my time. For the first year I kept my job. I left the house promptly at 7:00 A.M. and returned at 5:00 P.M. Then I frantically tried to assemble a collection of foods that might pass for a balanced meal. A bath, bed and I was sending my baby to dream land; I saw my daughter for few of her waking minutes. The sacrifice of time was not worth the price tag.
I decided to forfeit money and gain time. I became a full time parent with plenty of time to be involved in my children’s lives.
My summers are again spent canning stewed tomatoes for my family to eat. My gym is a double stroller, that I bought at a yard sale, which I faithfully use to tote my children to and from school each day. My children wear only the best, all of which are handed down from kind hearted friends. Our minivan was acquired from an acquaintance when he pasted away. We vacation in a tent. These are choices I make so I can continue to afford the privilege of being home.
I am intentionally raising my three children in a two bedroom, one bathroom home. I believe in investing wisely- in children not bedrooms.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.