have watched people with vast amounts of money who would not give
away a nickel out of fear that they would be made poor, and poor people
who always seemed to have enough to share with others.
I have seen the
gracious rich, the criminal poor, the hustler, and the saint.
All of them have
one thing in common:
The way they deal with money is a result of how
they think about money, not of how much money they have.
One of my most important lessons about money came from
a man who had five children, who had treated them all to a
trip to an amusement park one day (along with a couple of
their friends), though the family isn't at all
wealthy. I told him I really admired the fact that
he was willing to spend so much money on something like
that for his family, which could be seen as an
extravagance, but which also will provide wonderful
memories for the family for the rest of their lives.
He just shrugged and said, "It's only money."
At the time, I didn't really understand how he could say
that. In my own life, having money always has been a
struggle, partly because of my upbringing, and partly
because of my (conscious) choice of professions
(teaching). As time goes on and on, though, I
understand it more and more--money is simply one aspect of
our lives, and if we try to hoard it or save it all the
time, if we worry about it constantly or always wish we
had more of it, money can become a very negative influence
on our lives.
To me now, money is simply a means to an end. I need
to earn it to be able to function in society, of course,
but I don't need to worship it or worry about not having
enough. As long as I keep on doing what I'm doing,
earning enough money to live on and put a little away and
provide gifts and help for other people, then I'm
okay. That's why at least once a year my wife and I
plan a trip somewhere that will cost us money, but that
will provide us with something new and different in our
lives, and memories that will last as long as we do.
If that money just sits in a bank, we're not able to take
advantage of the fruits of our labor, and if that's the
case, what value did the labor have at all?
When we worry about the lack of money, we can actually
cause more lack. When we're grateful for the
presence of money, we can cause more to be present.
Too often we're taught to stress about money we don't have
rather than to celebrate the money that we do have--and
our attitude about it goes a long way towards determining
whether we have enough or not enough.