I have to confess that it is so difficult to maintain downsizing efforts in a world that thrives on materialism. I’m currently sitting on a display couch in Costco while my children peruse the toys. I’m totally guilty of just sending my Dave a picture of the display couch, complete with the caption, “We’ve decided that if we had this couch, we would sit downstairs all the time.” I’m guilty of it too-desiring more than I need.
I know it is not just me, desire is ingrained in all of us at birth. Luckily, my youngest is completely satisfied that he can, “Get this one later,” so he returns his toys to the shelf. Now, before you go assuming I regularly tell my children fibs about what they can get later, let me just explain that he developed this saying on his own. I’m not complaining as it has literally saved me on many occasions.
Fast forward to a few moments later when my Izzy comes to me with the Barbie and the Pink Shoes DVD and asks if I will buy it for her. I tell her she can use her allowance but explain she will only have $7.00 left if she bought it. I’ve been struggling with her because the minute she makes a few bucks she exclaims, “Do I have enough to buy something?” I’ve been contemplating how to best teach her about saving because all she wants to do is spend. Then as she sat there in front of me declaring her desire for the DVD, I did it, I explained the concept of saving, and unlike I had previously expected, she got it. I observed her as she sat in contemplation for a few moments, then she stood up and returned the movie to it’s rightful location without ever being prompted.
My heart swelled with emotion in that moment because I saw her processing as the start of a beautiful understanding of how we relate to our earthly possessions.
My Dave frequently comments on how grown up Izzy is. It’s true, she is capable of unravelling things in her mind that most adults are incapable of. She is compassionate, loving, kind, and vibrant. Suffice to say, I love my girl and am incredibly proud of her. I know my Izzy absorbs most of what I communicate to her about the world around her.
The acquisition of things can be very confusing for little people because their finite minds truly believe their life will be better once they get what thing or that you. In fact, many adults believe this as well. But, what I want my children to know about material possessions is that they do not define who we are as individuals. It all comes down to what we want our legacy to be long after we are no longer present on this earth.
I found it interesting that much of my Pete’s focus in his last few months of life revolved around his things as they were tangible. I feel our belongings make it too easy to tell our story because the story they tell is a superficial one. It is far more difficult to decipher the strength of a person’s character by examining their possessions.
My Pete’s legacy is not one that was shaped by his possessions. Instead, his legacy encompasses his gentle spirit, sheer determination, and incredibly compassionate heart. As his widow, I have been given the opportunity to pass on that legacy to his children, which I hope they will then pass on to their children, and so on.
I hope to teach my children that although it’s important to save our money, it’s even better to be a person of integrity whose spirit, not their possessions, lives on long after they are gone.