As a creative mom I’ve come up with a plethora of ways to say no to the simplest request. However, none work so well on my children as “I don’t have the money;” “it’s too expensive;” or “we can’t afford it.” It’s not something that, at 4 and 6, they are able to argue with much conviction. As it should be at this time in their life, they have no idea whether we can afford it or if there’s money in my wallet.
In fact, we probably could afford (insert random-crap-kids-often-want here) if I thought it was a valuable use of money. However, on more than one occasion I have heard myself resort to a “position of lack” when I could simply be owning what is ultimately my choice.
As children grow up they are forming their “story.” It’s the story of their life — the one they repeat, either aloud or silently, for the rest of their years. Their story will decide their direction, shape how they interact with people, and sway the choices they make. It will become the tightly woven fabric of their subconscious. It may be the determining factor in their happiness.
Children naturally live in the abundant “now.” They come into our lives being complete, only looking to have their basic needs for love, food and shelter provided. It is adults who worry about finances, messy houses, being on time and whether there is a balanced meal on the table.
Kids are happy to make do. They are just as pleased to play in the dirt as they are on an upswept floor — and while I’m not suggesting we throw in the towel entirely on keeping a clean house, serving healthy food or paying your bills, I am suggesting we recognize the importance of how such things play in our relationships with our children.
It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of money or are barely getting by on assistance and help from the food bank. There are two ways to look at a situation — either from a place of lack or, more preferably, a place of abundance.
If we raise children to always know that the glass is half full, they grow into adults who have a sense of richness, stability and strength. If we teach them that the very same glass is half empty, there will be instilled a feeling of longing and never having enough. In both situations the glass is no different, simply our perspective. But the outcome is poles apart.