So we don't have a lot of money right now. I mean we're wildly wealthy compared to the majority of the world's people who go to bed hungry every night. We just have to be quite careful with our money these days and sometimes that gets a little old.
But I have to say one very nice thing about being quite limited financially right now is that it's a lot easier to protect our kids from entitlement. When they want something their friends have that we don't perceive as a need, it's great to be able to honestly tell the kids that we simply can't afford the unnecessary extras that they want and that can clutter up our house and suck up our kids' time.
When we've had a good income, it's been a lot harder to say no to our kids' wants. It can be hard to explain why, when ever other kid in the world seems to have a certain thing and when I seem to have the money to buy things I want and need, they shouldn't have the thing their heart desires as well.
So while I do hope that we'll have more wiggle room financially at some point, I'm grateful for this chance for everyone in our family to learn more about needs and wants. And although it may be hard to keep our fulfilled wants in check when there's money available, we're determined to help our kids understand that even when you have plenty of money, there are always plenty of real needs in the larger world that can and should be met before we delve into our wants. There are so many people who need basic food and clothing and I'd like for us to give of our excess towards those who really need it before using excess to fuel our own wants. I want our kids to understand that no matter how much money we have, it's best to limit our wants and make careful choices about what we bring into our homes and into our lives.
Another thing that's hard but that's helping keep my kids from entitlement is the fact that I've got so much on my plate. I'm really working to cut back my work hours because the precarious balance I've always had between family and "other" has become extra-stressful lately and I truly want to be more present with my kids more often. But thanks to the projects I always have going on with Power of Moms and church and our community as well as the very fact that we have 5 kids, each of my kids has been protected from "center of the universe syndrome" - something that affects kids who have parents or nannies that dote on them a bit too much. My children have needed to help look after each other and help clean the house and help with projects I'm involved with pretty much all their lives. They don't feel entitled to my undivided attention all the time. So when they get it (through regular mommy dates and tuck in time and other stuff like that), it feels really special. And they seem to thrive on being useful as they help each other and help me. Feeling useful is a basic human need, I believe.
Anyway, entitlement has been on my mind since my parents have just finished writing an exciting book called "The Entitlement Trap" and April and I are hosting them in a webinar this Tuesday June 21st. If you want to hear them discuss the research they've done on the huge issue of entitlement in our society, find out about the great practical solutions presented in their book, and submit your own questions for them to answer during the webinar, click HERE.