“Money often costs too much.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Do you want to be rich?
We all want our children to be happy, to have all of their dreams come true, and preferably achieve some of our dreams too. Yet, we’re worried about not being able to give them the best starting point, which they deserve as our descendants.
Becoming millionaires first seems to be the most recommended way to give our kids the best. That’s why the media is bursting with guidance on how to become rich. Apparently, all you are required to do is get up at five every morning, work all day long eight days a week, and fill the idle times of driving or sleeping with productive skill-learning that might come up handy someday. We consume these instructions by the dozens, because who wouldn’t be thrilled to become a slave for the sake of their precious children?
Unfortunately, this attitude has a minor flaw we tend to ignore: it turns us from parents into cash suppliers, and, if we run after the money far enough, it leaves our children orphaned.
What Wealthy Dads Tend To Do
A lot of rich people are very good at this behavior. Horrifying documents such as The Nanny Diaries or Rich Dad, Poor Dad reveals how significant it is for many rich parents to give their kids the finest education, and how insignificant it is to simply be there for them and love them. After enduring such a poor rich-early-childhood, the kids are naturally sent to a posh boarding school, where they can grow to be lonely insensitive adults like their parents. They finish the process with an enormous ambition to get their parents’ approval in the only way that matters: by making lots of money. The attempt to fill an emotional void with money is rarely satisfying, however, and the customary solution is trying to make more money. As Ecclesiastes says, “whoever loves money never has enough.”
Yet, there is the other way. The less flashy, more mushy one.
But the choice tends to be creepy.
What Unwealthy Moms Tend To Do
Almost every parent experienced the doubtful pleasure of having to choose between longer peaceful work-hours and the delights of being with your children when they yell at each other. Choosing the longer hours is typically rewarded with wealth, promotions, and the admiration of everyone. Choosing the time with the kids usually rewards you with perpetual servitude, comprehensive pity, and sometimes even unemployment, by courtesy of our considerate workplaces.
Indeed, a tough choice.
Yet many of us, especially mothers, courageously choose to stand up to both our workplaces and the nosy surrounding society and spend more time with our vexing children.
When I, for instance, gave birth to my first daughter, the love-of-my-life logically expected me to keep my Hi-Tech job and leave our baby from dawn to much-after-dusk with a caretaker. It was the only prudent thing to do. It was also the only feminist independent thing to do.
But I wasn’t going to miss my kid’s entire childhood. My shocked spouse found out that not only did I leave my job for good, I also demanded him to be home early every evening, for our baby’s soapy bath and bedtime.
We became as poor as a church happy-mouse-family. The ends refused to meet. So we prodigally decided to have another child.
I never regretted quitting my job, for I had the pleasures of feeding my pouting toddlers and cleaning up after them. I spent most of my time with their friends’ dreary mothers and was their committed driver.
Ultimately, I tremendously enjoyed raising them.
Furthermore, I was there for them. Every time they needed me. And many times they didn’t.
And I silently taught them the most important lesson of all, the lesson that most of us teach our children:
That they’re worthy of our most precious resource of all: our time.
That they matter, and their feelings matter.
That they are unconditionally loved.
What We All Want To Do
While we’d like to be comfortably wealthy, using a comfortable helicopter to run our errands, for example, we tend to forget the not-so-hidden prices until it’s way too late.
On deathbed, many of us, especially fathers who are taught only to be providers, gloomily recognize the truth in the Dalai Lama’s saying, “Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.” Many of us regret our entire past.
Belatedly, we realize that time is not money. It’s much more expensive than money because time is the ingredient of which life is made.
Time is life.
Therefore, time is too precious to waste on accumulating money, or on any other thing that’s not making us happy. Because, as we suddenly find out, what we truly want is not to be rich, but to be happy.
And money can’t make us happy.
But treasured people can.
As all the researches keep declaring unoriginally.
Still, spending less time making money and more time with our loved ones is not that easy. Standing up to our workplaces is terrifying, as our traitorous existential anxieties back them devotedly.
Going against the norms of our society, which worshipfully sees the rich as the world’s leaders while seeing joyful parents as kind of failures, is somewhat harsh either.
Yet, we must gird up our loins, or our female organs, and decide how we want to happily live our lives.
Choosing to spend more time with our loved ones, and giving them our full attention, probably for the first time in decades, can work miracles. A present parent is the best present we can give our kids, one which will turn them into happy children, and later on into marvelous parents and happy people.
Furthermore, exemplifying the blissful benefits of slipping out of our running wheel could influence our society to be less of a rat race, and more of a caring civilization, where we could feel loved and joyful.
And that’s what we want the most.
To make people happy.
To make our loved ones happy.
And to be happy with them.
Author Estee Horn comes from a line of not-so-warty healing women, and uses their word-craft, as well as her MA in eco-psychology, to help people slow life down and be happier. Get her insights on her blog: How2BHappy.com