I respect the values you and your spouse have adopted. But life is not all or nothing – your choices have actually provided your family opportunities that others will not have. This is not criticism, this is a compliment. The ideas of no debt, of frugal money management, of thrift store shopping, of minimal material value, are all good ideas – and they will reap financial rewards.
Your children will be involved in numerous school program – you and your wife know these things. The children will require basketball shoes and drums and trumpets. They will require boy scout or girl scout uniforms with colorful badges. They will want to go to the movies and out to dinner with their friends. They will want to drive – and in today’s world driving is almost a necessity. There will be high school activities, band, theater, sports – and your children will be there as participants or as a faithful student body audience. All of these things cost money.
That is exactly the point of your financial choices. Because you have no debt, because you manage your money well, because you do not lavish yourself with materials, because of these things – you and your wife will have the money needed to meet the duties of respectable parents.
My thought is that you are not trying to deprive your children. You are trying to teach fundamental values of responsibility, values of family life, values of friendship, and the value of community in your church.
Others will not understand this – I can fill my garden with shredded junk mail mulch from credit card companies. There is tremendous pressure today to respond to complex and massive advertising. There is tremendous pressure to live as well as the neighbors. There is tremendous pressure for women to be so skinny that their life style requires a little after-dinner purging.
You and your wife have demonstrated that you are two of the best parents in America. The really good parents live in a remote village in the Australian outback. But that is because they don’t own a car and they don’t have cable television. You do not dump your children in marginal day care centers, you do not over indulge your children with junk food, you do not go out every weekend, leaving the children with some adolescent sitter.
You will have to realize that sometimes people will not understand. It is sort of funny – the contemporary value in debt is counter to historical American culture. The debt mentality is a relatively recent phenomenon. Your choice to live within your means is classic American responsibility. Your choice to remain debt free inoculates you against the viruses of credit card and payday loan scams.
Your family has made intentional decisions to live as Americans lived in the 1950’s – although you did not define your life in those words. There are many today who want to return to the ‘good old days’ – but they are misled. They are talking about forced Christian prayer in schools, about women being subservient to men, and about beating children into submission. Some people today call this foolishness good old American values.
The true American values are responsibility to family, to our fellow man, living within our means, and worshiping the God of our choice. I think that defines your family life.
See Also: A Proud Man and His Family – 1950’s