“Daddy, Do You Wish You Were Rich?”
My five-year-old asked me that question the other day. I’m not sure what prompted it.
Kids certainly have a way of slicing you down to the bone with a simple, innocent question, don’t they?
But these are moments to be intentional with your parenting.
I could have responded reflexively and said “No, I don’t!”
Because we’re not rich. And admitting that I would love to be rich would be like admitting some sort of personal failure.
Or I could have responded with “Yes, I would love to be rich!” But that would highlight that we aren’t rich and make it seem like we aren’t fulfilled.
So, how to proceed?
When I heard the question, I couldn’t help but laugh a little at first. But then I took a moment and thought very carefully about what I said next.
What was he really asking?
By asking if I wished I was rich, what he was really asking was “Is it important to have a lot of money? Because if it’s important to Daddy, then it should be important to me, too.”
I gathered my thoughts and said “Yes, being rich would be nice because having lots of money makes it easier to do certain things like buy toys and go on vacations. However, while money is important, it’s NOT the most important thing in life. The most important things in life are the relationships you have with other people. The love I have for you, your brother, Mommy, (and the dog) are much more important than money because money can’t buy those things. The love of other people is way more important than money.”
Whew! That’s a lot to unpack, especially for a five-year-old.
What I tried to do with that statement was walk a bit of a tightrope. I wanted to let him know that some things are more important than money, but I didn’t want to demonize the drive it takes to acquire money. It’s not wrong to want to be wealthy and I didn’t want to insinuate it was. After all, he asked me a direct question so he is obviously curious about it.
He followed up my answer with “Daddy, if you want to be rich, you should just… get more money.”
Thanks. I’ll try that approach going forward.
My original answer was meant to help him appreciate the things in his life that money cannot buy.
So, this Thanksgiving, I encourage you to do the same.
In the world of clothes and menswear, we can get bogged down in hunting for the next perfect thing. But if all your possessions went away tomorrow, would you be really, truly fulfilled with the love of the people around you?
On Thursday, and every day, hug your children. Kiss your wife. Tell then you love them. Tell them that they make you happy. Tell them that spending time with them makes you happy. Tell your children that they are good people.
I am so thankful for my wife and children that I can hardly put it into words.
Do I wish I was rich?
I already am.