4: No Worries

4: No Worries

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times, Tough People

No Worries

Life, love and laughter—what priceless gifts to give our children.

~Phyllis Dryden

The worst problem with our current economic crisis is the overwhelming sense of worry. It is eating people alive. Worry affects our children, our marriages, our families, our sense of security. We have chosen to tell our four children, ages thirteen to three, when we do not have enough money, and explain which bills we have to pay with Daddy’s paycheck. We let them know, without too much detail, that it is hard to get everything they want right now. They have amazed us. They will even ask what bills we have to pay for a particular week. We expected them to act upset... worried. However, we are learning from their reaction. Sometimes the child teaches the parent.

Now instead of telling me what they want, they say, “Mom, when we will have enough money to get...?”

I pull out change and we count it to see if we can get Frosties at Wendy’s. Fast food was something they took for granted, but now it is special.

They are making wish lists and saving birthday and Christmas money for toys or games. They have a blast looking through catalogs.

We spend more time together as a family. We use our TiVo to record programs and movies we can watch together. We make popcorn, turn out the lights, and enjoy our evening. Something that would have cost our family more than sixty dollars now costs about five dollars, and we have the added benefit of hitting “pause” when one of us needs to go to the bathroom!

Boxes are still a huge hit at our house. They turn into airplanes, Star Wars figures, and anything else you can imagine. I’m also amazed that when you hand a child a water hose and a little plastic pool, joy and laughter ensues. Simply turning the hose up into the air, they can pretend it is raining and they can play for hours inventing their own games.

Children’s imaginations are endless. Our children have been so conditioned to having constant technology at their fingertips, families have forgotten how to have fun together. Yes, we could choose to worry and stress, but the bottom line is that we have each other.

We live paycheck to paycheck, but somehow we pull through. We have talked to the businesses we owe and made special arrangements. Worry would have us throwing up our hands rather than checking with creditors to work out an arrangement. They really are happy to work with you. They would rather get some money than none at all.

It’s all about perspective. Do I miss not having the “extras?” Sure! But I have learned that blessings can be disguised in many ways. Accepting that we cannot control things, such as the economy, help us to let go of the worry. It changes your focus. Things that we used to call “needs” turn out to be “wants.”

Our children may not have a college fund, but they will certainly understand how to work and get what they need rather than having their lives served to them on a silver platter. They will go to college. They know what hard work is. They know how to survive. But better than all of that, they will truly understand what it means to have a happy family. And after all, at the end of each day, they will know they are loved, and that doesn’t cost a thing!

~Michelle Rocker

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