What I Really Hope

A mother’s hopes for her children are never far from her. 

I’ve been thinking much these last couple of weeks, as the sky seems to be doing a bit of falling.  I think of how higher gas and grocery prices will affect my family, of course, but I think of other things, too.  I look at the failure we’re seeing, on such a grand scale, and it reminds me of something much deeper.  Cheaper groceries aren’t the only thing I’m wishing for, where my kids are concerned:

I hope they learn that greed is not, in fact, good.  That it messes with the heads of big-time CEOs all the way down to first-time homeowners, and it clouds judgment, often spectacularly so.

I hope that they pay attention in math class and learn that, whether you’re a government or a regular Joe, if you spend more than you make, it never ends well.

I hope they learn that a happy family is a million times more precious than a big house.

I hope they learn that when times are good, your circumstances don’t have to enslave you or define you.  And that when times are bad, your circumstances don’t have to enslave you or define you. 

I hope they remember that America’s version of "cutting back" is very different from that of the developing world.

I hope they learn that contentment is not something that accidentally happens to you, it is something you actively decide upon.  And you lay hold of it, re-deciding every day that enough is actually plenty.

I hope they learn that, at the end of the day, our truest Hope will never be found in our bank accounts or our government.  Insitutions sometimes fall.  He doesn’t.

88 thoughts on “What I Really Hope

  1. jubilee says:

    “I hope they learn that contentment is not something that accidentally happens to you, it is something you actively decide upon. And you lay hold of it, re-deciding every day that enough is actually plenty.”
    Brilliant. And so true.

  2. Emily says:

    I’m so proud of you and I’m so glad to have someone who sets such a good example for others. Me, in particular. Thank you for being a light.

  3. Erin says:

    Well put!
    How sad to think that we complain about having to downsize all our many luxuries when downsizing for others mean no food to eat. Lets keep that perspective in mind during this crisis.
    And we always need the reminder to rely on Him who has it all in control. thanks.

  4. Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt says:

    I’m not sure if I’ve ever actually commented here before. (But wanted to previously if only because I’ve been in the PCA my entire life and so that sort of makes us sisters.) Anyway, I love the wisdom in this post. Another thing I hope my kids learn is that it’s hard to be discontent and greedy when we take time to specifically count all the things we should be thankful for.

  5. Sandy Toes says:

    Wow…that could not of been said any better. That is my prayer and hope for my kids! If you are not content…life can be empty and never fulfilling!
    Our Lord does not FALL..amen!
    -Sandy toes

  6. Megan@Hold it Up to the Light says:

    You so put in to words what I have been thinking lately. I’m trying to look at the good I can take from these hard times, and one of the best things are the lessons I have been able to teach my children. Nothing makes it more real than having to skip our Sunday afternoon lunch out every other week or driving to 4 gas stations looking for gas. Teachable moments!
    What I am also seeing is that these times have really made me focus on my faith. That is something that will carry me through these tough times….and will make the good times all the more sweeter!!

  7. Jan J. says:

    So well said and so true. My little family of single mom and two lovely daughters from China has had a good deal of difficulties in recent times. But it hit me one day recently when I was feeling sorry for myself – it could be SO much worse! We have each other and all of us can get ourselves out of bed every day and get ourselves dressed – how many do not have that simple freedom? And because we have so little materially we have learned to enjoy the simple pleasures of life and we already have learned to do without and to get by with little, so we aren’t even affected so much by the hard times. It only illuminates how blessed we are to have each other.

  8. $5 Dinner Mom says:

    Preach it sister! I lived in a devloping country for 6 years doing mission work. It showed me how to cut back, live simply and enjoy each day and not the “things” of the day! I am so thankful for that perspective and desperately want to pass it on to my boys. Part of me thinks the only way to do that is to go back on the mission field, but the other part of me thinks the Lord will teach them that anywhere!
    Thanks for sharing your heart!

  9. Kristen M. says:

    I agree with the spirit of your post. Our hope is in the Lord and not in our stuff or circumstances.
    I would argue that some people have lost their homes because of unemployment not greed (not their own at least). I don’t think it’s fair to lump all those people into one category.

  10. Kristin says:

    Apostle Paul said that he had learned to be content with having little AND having much.
    The struggle of contentment in a world full of “more” is one that I fight daily; thank you for inspiring me to remember who (and not what) I should trust.

  11. Crystal @ Memoirs of a Mommy says:

    “I hope they learn that contentment is not something that accidentally happens to you, it is something you actively decide upon. And you lay hold of it, re-deciding every day that enough is actually plenty.
    I hope they learn that, at the end of the day, our truest Hope will never be found in our bank accounts or our government. Institutions sometimes fall. He doesn’t.”
    Beautiful!! Thank you for sharing. I agree with you 100%!!

  12. Liz C. says:

    DH and I discussed this just this weekend! He struggles with contentment more than I do, most times, simply because he compares himself so much to what he *thinks* others have. I look at the same situations and think, “Wow… precariously-financed house of cards. They don’t own anything stable or real, and one wrong slip, one illness, and everything is gone. I’ll take our trials, thanks!”
    We’ve had some great discussions with our children lately about “whence cometh our hope.” Also, being good stewards, because we *are* blessed with a tremendous amount, and should tend it well. It’s working, and I am encouraged! My DD-12 needed some longer jeans, and suggested that, since she’d be hiking and painting things at a campground cleanup, buying new jeans would be silly. We hit the thrift store, found a good pair for $3, and she was tickled… and quite content.

  13. theresa (YewNorkBabe) says:

    How true and amen!
    My husband and I have been discussing this very thing.
    It is very difficult to teach our children, actually my stepchildren, these values when they are with us one week and with their mother the other week.
    Thank God the children are starting to understand that we do not want to spend more than we can afford and that our family is more important that designer clothes and fancy vacations.

  14. tracey says:

    It’s hard to explain to children who have so much, what it really means to have nothing… Especially when I can barely wrap my own brain around the concept…

  15. Jennifer (Et Tu?) says:

    “Insitutions sometimes fall. He doesn’t.”
    Amen, amen, amen! This is the best post I’ve read on the financial crisis. Thank you.
    And I almost missed it since your blog, like mine, is not being updated on Bloglines. (I am ashamed to admit that there are days when my Bloglines issues concern me more than the whole economy collapsing thing.)
    Anyway, thanks again for a wonderful post.

  16. Jen says:

    I love your list. Thank you so much for posting it. Especially the part about American “cutting back” versus the rest of the world. And somehow we manage to be so unhappy amid our excess. There’s something significant in that.

  17. kayla says:

    I agree im afraid of another great depression, with everything the way it is, something has to give and it has to get better, heck, milk is 4 dollars a gallon here.

  18. Renee says:

    thank you for writing this! if you teach them and give them strong resources to fall back on, they will understand. from my family’s wisdom, my mom and dad introducing my husband and I to Dave Ramsey, and sound, Biblical teaching at our church we’ve finally learned that all the grandeur of the world isn’t really as shiny as it looks. we’ve learned to live within our means, even if that means living well below the ‘standards’ of the world.

  19. Ruth Ann says:

    We lived in Thailand for a few years – and that experience has forever changed my perspective!
    The ‘economic crisis’ that we are facing in America pales in comparison to the conditions that much of the world endures on a daily basis.
    Our prices are rising – so, for most of us, we simply pay more for our food. In other parts of the world – prices are rising, too. The difference is that they don’t pay more – they buy less.
    Can I add to your list?
    I hope they learn that the choices they make have implications that reach to the furthest corners of the world. When governments, corporations and individuals choose to live beyond their means – the resulting economic crisis wreaks havoc in the lives of the poorest of the poor.

  20. Courtney says:

    You may hope this for your children, and I do as well, but today, well…it was me that needed reminding. It was I that needed the lesson…so someone got it…that is a good start πŸ™‚ thanks!

  21. Jamie Simmerman says:

    There is truly so much to teach our children every day, but I think greed is a lesson they need to learn early, especially in our culture.
    Sonia Simone left a comment this week that suck with me, she says,”You don’t teach every child, you teach the one that is right in front of you at the time.”

  22. carole Lawrence says:

    HI Shannon,
    I read your blog everyday and am usually just a lurker,but your post was so wise today. Paul said he had learned to be content in all circumstances and we will as well. Your blogging from Uganda put it all in perspective. I loved the scripture you included. Thank you for your wise words. It will help many people.

  23. Debra says:

    Wow! That is really good. Great perspective for the times we are in and even when we aren’t in them. Focusing on what really counts, being and choosing to be content! Well said!

  24. jenni says:

    Thanks Shannon – as always, you nailed it on the head, putting into words what has been going on in my head for the last week (but far more graciously than I would/could!)
    we love our townhome and love living in southern cal. but it has been VERY hard for me, VERY hard, to not be judgemental when I see people who I know make less than we do upset that they will lose their $1.5 million, 4000 sf home they couldn’t afford in the first place. And that my taxes will help bail out the crisis they helped create bc they couldn’t or wouldn’t live within their means. I better just stop right here. ;p

  25. Mrs. P. says:

    Great post!
    Last month, my husband lost his job. As I do not work, we were without income for a month. 2 things our sons learned in that time was that as long as there is food on the table (no matter how humble it may be!), a roof over our heads, and we’re all together, that’s what matters. The other thing is that our brothers and sisters in Christ are pretty awesome people, andprayer can move mountains. I don’t think “good times” would’ve taught my boys those things as clearly as this has. πŸ˜€
    God is good, no matter our circumstances, amen?

  26. m says:

    I hope people also understand that not every person who bought a home in the last few years and is foreclosing was consumed with greed. Many people purchased within their means and completely honestly. Some people worked hard for years and years to be able to purchase. And then their loan was sold off to a lying or greedy bank. Now those honest people are also suffering by losing thousands of hard earned dollars or even their homes.
    I love your post, but I’m very frustrated that this side of the story is not being told anywhere.

  27. Natalie at FLHomeBlog says:

    Beautifully put. I agree with everything you’ve written. So much so that I’m going to encourage others to head over and read this from my own blog because I could never of phrased it so perfectly. Thank you for sharing these beautiful thoughts.

  28. Tara says:

    I agree whole-heartedly! This is a lesson not only for children though. I wish the entire world could understand these concepts and hold them dear to their heart…. it would be a much better and happier place!

  29. Sally says:

    “Contentment is not something that accidentally happens to you, it is something you actively decide upon. And you lay hold of it, re-deciding every day that enough is actually plenty.”
    I must quote you, please, on my blog.
    You are so right about these things, and as with so many other things, I am trying to learn them myself before I can possibly teach them to my children effectively…!

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