Looking back, I know that I was blessed with hard-working parents who knew the value of a dollar. We grew up modestly and were taught to save for the things that we wanted and there was not much talk about credit or about being in debt. My parents taught us by example to respect money but not to be controlled by it.
In other words, they lived within their means. If they couldn’t afford it, they didn’t buy it. My parents never put anything on a credit card. In fact, I’m sure they didn’t even have a credit card.
These days, the thought of not having a credit card is almost unimaginable. Everybody uses them. Personally, I have nothing against credit cards, in fact, I have several of my own 😉 but I do try to use them responsibly and I do try to pay them off every month.
What we believe about money
What we have tried to teach in our family is something that I truly believe in. You do not have to have the finest house or drive the most expensive car. That is not what happiness is all about.
Life is not a competition about who has the best of everything. Having the top of the line car, clothes, jewelry, or anything else does not make you a better person. Living in the most expensive house does not guarantee that your life will be fulfilling or joyful.
It’s about what goes on INSIDE that house that really matters. If you live in a tiny, cozy house with lots of love, you probably already have many of those people beat who live in the fancy mansions up on the hill.
Money doesn’t buy happiness. It doesn’t buy contentment. It doesn’t guarantee that life will be perfect. Yes, I agree that having more money and being able to pay your bills every month gives you a much better feeling than worrying about it, but how much we have and what THINGS we own do not define us.
We all know people who seem to have so much, but are miserable. And we all know the people who live quiet, simple lives and seem to have found the happiness that has eluded many others.
I am not saying that people who are financially successful are not happy. I am sure that many of them are very happy. I am saying that if you are not one of those who is financially independent, it doesn’t matter. The accumulation of “things” should not be the focus in this life.
The truly important “things” in life
Relationships are what’s important. The positive, loving relationship that you have with your spouse or your partner, the relationships that you have with your children and friends; those are the “things” that bring us happiness.
The way that we feel about ourselves and about our lives is what makes or breaks us. Comparing our material possessions to those of others is bound to create self-doubt and negativity.
Don’t do it. Don’t fall into the trap of envy and jealousy against your neighbor.
God has given each of us a life, and what we do with it is up to us. Happiness is not something that magically falls into our laps. It is a choice. Choose to be happy. If there is some factor in our life that we are dissatisfied with, then it is up to us to do all that we can to change it.
That is what we teach at our house. Love. People. Relationships. Treating each other kindly. Being grateful for what we have. Choosing happiness. Those are the important things.