Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Food for thought

Perhaps you don't consider yourself an affluent person. If you have doubts about meeting the criteria for affluence, try answering the following questions:
  1. Do you have more than one pair of shoes?
  2. Do you have more than one choice about what you will eat for each meal?
  3. Do you have access to your own means of transportation?
  4. Do you have more than one set of underwear?

If you answered "yes" to three or more of these questions, then by the overall standards of the world, you are affluent. Fewer then 10 percent of all people who have ever lived have been able to answer "yes" to three or more of these questions at any one time in their lives.

This is from the book "Raising Self-Reliant Children In A Self-Indulgent World" by H. Stephen Glenn and Jane Nelsen (She's one of my favorites) and I wanted to share it with you. I own this great book and have reread it many times now. The questions above always remind me of how much we have, how much we take for granted. I have been caught up many times in the poor me mentality, we don't have as much as others, I can't get my kids, my husband, myself what I want to get, we don't have enough money, enough stuff. Some times it's hard to fight these feelings. I've looked at my selection of shoes more then once and thought, I don't have the perfect shoes for this outfit, I need another better pair of shoes. I've felt sorry for myself at the grocery store wishing I didn't have to buy only the bare basics, forgetting that I am able, unlike many others, to buy the bare basics. We always have a choice about what we eat at every meal. We have a van that transports all of use where we need to go and I take it for granted. I have complained about it many times. Why didn't we get the one were the doors open automatically with the push of a button. One with a better seat arrangement. A top rack...and on and on. I forget that we are so blessed to have anything that will take us easily from point A to point B, and what a blessing that is with four children four and under! The last question always get me. Do you have more then one set of underwear? Wow, there are more pairs of underwear collectively in this house then you would care to count. I have never thought twice about that. Never. In fact I just bought some more the other day because they had a superhero that my son likes on them. He didn't need more, I just knew he would like them and I thought...hey you can't have too many pairs of underwear right? Not even thinking about the fact that many have none, something so simple and so over looked by me. I can answer yes to every one of these, I have underwear, I am affluent. In the scope of the world my cup is overflowing and then some. That doesn't make me feel good, that makes me sad. I read something like this and I realize once again that truly we have to much. More then enough. I feel selfish. Self centered. I feel I need to do more. If a third of the world has never owned a pair of shoes, I need to give more. If a major cross section of the world population wonders if it will eat more than once during the day, and is grateful for the same food every single day, I need to give more. If about half of the people in the world walk everywhere and can only fantasize about having a vehicle at their disposal, I need to give more. I need to do more. I need to care more. For others. At the very least I need to start being more thankful for what my family does have, and stop believing the lie that we need more. A lie that is pushed on use this time of year more then any other. Don't believe the lie. If you can answer yes to three or more of the questions above, then count your blessings, hug your family and put a smile on your face!


mommytoalot said...

What an eye opener.. and just at the right time for me. I was feeling sorry for myself because I can't get everything the kids want for Christmas ...and wow..
my youngest child alone has 20 pairs of shoes..that fit.
thanks for this .

A Musing Mom (Taylorclan6) said...

That is a book that I have buried downstairs in the black hole. Time to reread.

Great post.

Dr. Jane Nelsen said...

Thank you for the lovely thoughts. You made my day. Jane Nelsen (one of your favorites) :-)

smiles4u said...

Amen! I just want to give you a hug right now. Yes, we are so darn blessed and have so much to celebrate. When I read this, I thought, oh why can't we be neighbors so that we could celebrate together. You are so spot on about this. You will never regret raising your children like you are. I wish you could talk to my now grown children and you would be encouraged to continue in this path.

In asking every single one of my children, what they want for Christmas? They have answered me with, "Nothing"... "Please buy something for someone that actually needs something and that can be my present." and "Oh mom, we don't need anything, just give the money to someone that needs help." Even my granddaughter, that is 10 years old says, "Grandma, we have so much, maybe we could help someone that needs it." My children humble me.

We have such an abundance, yet when it is put to goverment standards it says we live in poverty. This doesn't make sense does it? We have too much and we will keep fighting the battle. I have been talking with family and we are putting togther a group of us to prepare a meal and serve it at a shelter. Also to donate some of our toys and clothes that we no longer need. We are so excited about this.

What is sad is that some that know us think we need because of our choosing to live simple or because we buy second hand. The thing is, we are so happy. We don't complain but people are so conditioned these days to think things need to be a certain way. I think it is awesome that you are so aware of what is most important. What a great mom you are!!! XX Lori

PS Thank you for the kind comment you left me today.

Riahli said...

Jane Nelsen, you made MY day! I could hardly believe that you commented on my blog. I never thought in a million years that you would read something that I wrote, I think I'm a tad bit embarrassed now! :) Your book Positive Discipline is my most treasured book, I read it before I even had kids, and have reread it many times since. I went to your website and saw a couple books that I haven't read yet...but I will be soon... :)

Dr. Jane Nelsen said...

Riahli, You just keep saying the nicest things. Can I quote you?

Riahli said...

Jane Nelsen- Absolutely! :)

MGM said...

I'm behind on visiting blogs and just caught this. Thanks for the perspective and the reminder. I've been starting to notice how old and creaky our cars are. But notice I said carS (plural). I wonder how more than one car stacks up against more than one pair of underwear. Heck, we must just be plain old STINKING RICH!