I will never forget the day. I was listening to the radio. I had just gotten done listening to debt-free screams for my weekly dose of motivation, and our oldest boy asked me “Mommy are we debt-free?” Now let me be clear. My husband and I have never had a money argument in front of our children and they have never known life without basic needs due to debt. However, we have spoken freely about plans to get out of debt and what we would like life after debt to look like. He has also listened to the Dave Ramsey show since he was about 2. It did not hit me until that moment, how much our children are watching us.
At the moment I realized how we act in front of them will have the greatest impact on their lives. Far greater than anything we would ever use words to tell them. For a moment I panicked. I asked myself “What is it our children see when they watch us? Do they see all the places I have failed them in the ways mom guilt makes me feel like I have? Do they see other kids and all the fun stuff they have and feel like their own parents do a better job?”
After a breath and a prayer, I went on to explain to him, in little detail, that no mommy and daddy were not debt-free but the day was quickly coming. It was as if God spoke directly to my heart through our son. “Mommy is that why you Daddy works so hard? To give me and my brother a good life?” To hug him close in a smothering squeeze was all I could do to prevent him from seeing a sudden flood of tears.
It is not our words that have stuck with him. It has been our actions. He does not see a mommy and daddy who had failed to give him the biggest Christmas, he sees a home filled with love and laughter. He does not see the endless mac and cheese and chicken nuggets meals as a sign that mommy and daddy could not afford anything else, he sees lunch. He has seen his daddy work 70+ hours a week but knows daddy will be there to read bedtime stories every night. He has seen his mommy coupon shop for everything he has eaten, worn, and played with but he has never gone without. He has only ever read bargain bought books and but he spent countless hours over the years with his imagination bringing down giants and fishing with Jesus. He does not see his out of tune, free piano as a corner mommy and daddy cut to save money all he hears is beautiful music he plays for God. All he sees is a mommy and daddy who have worked hard to give him and his little brother a good life.