- A few years ago, our family moved from a small town to a big city. While buying one house, living in another house, and trying to sell a third house, life got a little grim. Cashflow was scarce, and spontaneous spending had to be cut out completely. We all knew it was temporary, but life still felt a little dreary. The days no longer carried the same lighthearted lilt they used to.
It was like a starvation diet.
And as much as we grownups hate that “tight budget” feeling, convincing our kids to stop begging for stuff is so lovely, isn’t it? You’re in some public place, your six-year-old spots the very item he simply must have for survival, you say no, he screams, fellow customers pull out their phones, you stick the item in your cart, wave to the onlookers, then slip the prize back onto some random shelf when your kid’s distracted.
Sometimes my Firm Face is glad we can’t afford it. That’s when I agree with my offspring that I am indeed the meanest mother in the world. Other times my Firm Face kind of melts, and my heart too, because I’d really like to buy That Thing for them. We all know the whole Needs vs Wants lesson. But when you feel like you’re constantly denying yourself, it’s hard to Just Say No every day, to everyone.
One particularly bleak Saturday, I realized what was happening to us. We’d been so excited to make this move and have these changes! We were closing in on purchasing exactly the house we wanted! But we were starting to let that old “Scarcity Mentality” seep in. It brings out the worst in people. So, I figured, what’s the opposite of scarcity?
Here’s what I did. I sat down next to my 12-year-old daughter and asked, “What does abundance look like to you?”
“I mean…if you could have whatever you wanted…what would your bedroom look like? Your closet? Our family room? Dinner time? Saturday afternoons?”
I took time to ask each family member, when no one else was listening. Opening up our minds to possibilities really cheered us up!
We had some laughs and shared some thoughts. We got to know each others’ preferences in some startling ways. But even better than that, with our imaginations conjuring up all sorts of richness, we discovered that many of our wishes were not monetary at all! We could do these things, or make a plan to get them started. We even came up with strategies for a few delightful surprises!
Here’s what The Abundant Life looks like for our family:
A checker tournament with Dad Housekeeper
A framed mirror in the hallway Red high heels
Frequent walks to the ice cream store Aquarium
Basketful of apples Long drives up the mountain
Fresh flowers on the table Wrought iron fence
A tablet for everyone Softer bedsheets
More pillows on the bed Fountain in the front yard
Valet parking when it’s available Popcorn machine
Popsicles in the freezer Gymnastics lessons Palm trees
Theater room Secret compartments A tree house
Artist easel with canvas Cookie jar never empty
Individual cereal boxes with everyone’s favorite Drum set
Books by the fireplace Family water balloon fight
Scented candles New games for Xbox Cozy socks
This idea worked out great for us. The grouchies were gone! We had new fun things to focus on. And you’d be surprised at how many of them really did happen! Ask your family what Abundance is for them. It may be simpler than you think!